Yesterday found me in Aggie Land attending a sick child or so I thought, but really I didn’t need to go and he said so himself. I felt the need for him to have a well stocked pantry so I cleaned his out and filled it up. I felt the need for him to have a clean house to get rid of any sick bugs that may be lingering so I cleaned and sanitized. I felt the need for him to have chicken soup and lots of liquids, good for the soul, so I provided plenty of soup and lots of crackers, sprite and ginger ale. After several hours of fulfilling my needs as his mother, I left him with strict instructions on heating the soup, laid out the medicine and left him with a glass in his hand for his “drink lots of liquids” requirement. Guess what he did after I left? He went to McDonald’s!!!!!!!
Today finds me feeling blue and missing the old days when he was happy with chicken soup and the comforts of home. I was thinking of the column that Erma Bombeck wrote in response to a young mother who was complaining and thought you might find some perspective in her wisdom.
A young mother writes: “I know you’ve written before about the empty-nest syndrome — that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?”
One of these days, you’ll shout, “Why don’t you kids grow up and act your age!”
And they will.
Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do … and don’t slam the door!”
And they won’t.
You’ll straighten up the boys’ bedroom neat and tidy — bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay this way.”
And it will.
You’ll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you’ll say, “Now, there’s a meal for company.”
And you’ll eat it alone.
You’ll say: “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” And you’ll have it.
No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.
No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.
No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.
No more clothespins under the sofa.
No more playpens to arrange a room around.
No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.
No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.
No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.
Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year’s Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn’t ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
No PTA meetings.
No car pools.
No blaring radios.
No one washing her hair at 11 o’clock at night.
Having your own roll of Scotch tape.
Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.
No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.
No more tooth fairy.
No giggles in the dark.
No knees to heal, no responsibility.
Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?”
and the silence echoing, “I did.”