For all intents and purposes The Husband and I live life as empty nesters. Older Son has a place of his own in a much more urban part of the city truly befitting his somewhat bohemian lifestyle, and Younger Son resides much of each month in an overcrowded hovel which was probably designed for four but is housing eight, and is in close proximity to his university classes. After almost twenty years of constant chaos, shlepping, slamming doors, sibling rivalry, "hoovered refrigerators," inflated hot water bills, continual worry about cars, drivers and curfews, the new norm of being just the two of us again took some getting use to. Not to worry! We settled in just fine. There is a certain peace and ease that accompanies life when the day to day worries of childrearing take a comfortable back seat. Don't get me wrong. We are still very much a part of our children's lives and they ours, we just aren't voyeurs to every single movement and detail any longer, and I have to admit it suits us. I don't find myself staying up nights wondering and worrying about where they are and how or if they will make it home. What I don't know can't hurt me, right? Of course right!
And then there are days and weekends like this one. Just when I think that I have this delicate balance of when to mother and when to back off licked, one of my boys throws me a curveball and I retreat into my nagging, hovering, annoying, anxious, insomniac default of a parent. Younger Son has been telling me for the last two weeks that he and a group of friends were planning a road trip to celebrate the end of midterms. The real draw for the boy isn't of course the seven hour car ride in each direction, the constant stream of junk food, or four sweaty frat boys in close quarters, but it is that their planned destination is the quaint college community where His Young Lady is a student. When Younger Son has gone to visit her in the past, most often he has cannibalized our frequent flier air mileage so that he might maximize his time. This weekend is a bit different in that he and his buddies have a midterm break of a few days, so the car trip was a cheaper and a more effective method of vacationing. I of course am a blabbering incomprehensible wreck.
I suppose that I should be proud of the independent manner in which he has planned this excursion. He rented the car, dealt with the insurance, made certain that the chapter house down south could accommodate his friends, and handled all of his obligations and responsibilities here at home with maturity. And yet I am still a wreck. The idea of my baby driving on the Interstates for seven hours kept me up half of the night. I know it isn't reasonable, but it is motherhood. It never ends. The Husband has been his usual calm and logical self. He reminds me that we drove to St. Louis when we were several years younger than the boy. I chime back with typical irrationality "Yeah, but we were so much more mature and way better drivers." (I know. My comebacks need work.)
There is truth to the idea that mothers never stop being mothers. We can't help it. We worry. Kids, deal with it. It is who we are and how our DNA is structured. I won't stop pacing today until I receive a text message informing me of his arrival. Then I will have two days of downtime until it starts all over again on Monday. So much for my relaxing weekend. I just hope that he has a great time. I would hate to think that I wasted all of this anxiety on a crappy trip.