By Jennifer Ball of The Happy Hasufrau
‘Tis the season of heart-wrenching articles about the misery of emptying nests. Pictures of cars packed to the gills with collegiate necessities, freshly decorated dorm rooms and sobbing parents clutching at their offspring’s necks are displayed in newspapers, magazines, and online.
But local mother of three, Maureen “Reenie” Wills, is coming clean. “I’m so excited to drop them off at their respective dorms” she said, while sitting on her quiet porch in a Minneapolis suburb. She took a sip of wine and then continued, “I know a lot of parents are feeling really weepy and sad about college right about now. But I’m actually counting down the days.”
In the background, sounds of life emanated from the house. The faint sound of an Xbox game, a steady stream of bass beats and what Wills confirmed was the actual sound of a refrigerator dying could be heard behind the closed (and locked) porch door.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Wills stated, after refilling her wine glass from the box of Merlot tucked carefully between the wall and her chair. “I love my kids. But let’s be real here. This has been a long summer and these people eat their weight in food just about every day.”
When asked what she was most looking forward to after moving her children into their college housing, Wills lifted her glass to her mouth again before speaking: “I guess the things I’m most excited about is not finding half-full cups of water scattered all around the house.” She took a pensive, thoughtful swig and then added, “Oh, and one of them started drinking coffee this summer. I’m pretty much giddy at the thought of not having to share my coffee with anyone.”
Wills also confided that one other positive about this usually somber milestone was the fact that she’d once again be able to have her boyfriend over without worrying about grossing out her children. The divorced 45-year-old smiled, exposing slightly-purple-hued teeth when she discussed having to sneak around with her longtime lover, and expressed regret over not getting around to putting a lock on her bedroom door.
“It’s going to be nice to be able to get my freak on again. My kids keep vampire hours… it’s virtually impossible to do anything at night without them knowing.”
Before wrapping up the interview, Wills was asked if she’d miss her kids while they were away at college. Polishing off her third glass of vino, she wiped her mouth with her sleeve before answering, “Well, yeah, of course. But they’ll be home in November. And I still have one kid here for at least two more years, unless we get him into that accelerated graduation program.”
She paused in reflection, while stooping over the box of wine one last time. “I’m not a monster, you know. I really do love them. It’s just time for them to go.”
About the Author
Jennifer Ball is a Minneapolis-based writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared on several literary sites online and in print. She blogs sporadically at The Happy Hasufrau and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.