Wisdom from Diapers to Diplomas

The Empty Laundry Basket- Sending the Firstborn to College


My oldest has just a handful of days of high school left.

He announced that to me this morning. And then he left for school, wearing dark wayfarer sunglasses, the kind we wore when I was in high school, which according to my mental processing, was just last month- right?

I’ve been hearing since he was in the womb how “fast” the years will go by but until you experience it, well, you just can’t wrap your mind around it.

I found myself a few days ago sitting here in my empty house, in the middle of a regular day, folding some of his clothes. And I was crying my eyes out. The ugly cry, where the second a sad thought enters your mind (he’s graduating!) your eyes immediately fill up with fat, hot tears and your lips quiver. It was that kind of cry.

Boxer shorts, collared shirts, and mismatched socks all fell into his basket, and with them, his childhood it seemed.

That’s it. It’s over. He’s done. So in a way, I’m done. So I cried.

I know he will always be my baby, I will always be his mom, there will always be worry, and there is still plenty of parenting left he needs to get, but I also realized in that moment there is plenty of letting go that needs to happen too. PLENTY of letting go.

Change his diaper one day, drop men’s sized clothes in his basket the next, and drive him to college the next. So I cried some more.

I find myself talking to friends who have already done this stage of parenting and telling them, “I’m not gonna be able to do this.” And they always have the same reply: “You HAVE to be able to do this.”

I’m gonna do it, but I’m not gonna like it, at least not for a while, but I’m gonna do it. I will tell myself all the amazing life experiences he has ahead of him are worth me embracing the end of his childhood and the beginning of his adulthood. I can do this. Maybe?

But for a little bit longer, while he is under my roof every night and I’m still taking care of this little boy, I’m gonna let myself have a few good cries over the next few months. And slowly, hopefully, those tears will go from sad to sweet, from bitter to blessed, and from the emptiness of my arms to the fullness of his future. GULP.

Does Amazon ship tissues by the case?