Friday, April 11, 2014

Syracuse Bound?

I haven't written in a while. I got swallowed up by the end of the fall semester and Christmas. Then we spent most of the winter shoveling and trying to keep our pipes from freezing. And as the weeks, then months went by, I started thinking maybe I was done with the blog because maybe I was finally getting used to my emptying nest. But last week I hit a bump in the road. Friday night I was sitting in the darkened high school auditorium watching act one of Bye Bye Birdie. I glanced back and saw my son, the director, standing at the back, keeping watch over the production. Steve was in the seat next to me, and my daughter, Em, was sitting nearby with her boyfriend. She'd arrived home a couple of hours earlier, and as I was fixing dinner, she checked her email and discovered she'd been accepting into the SUITR program at Syracuse University. We cheered and hugged and took big, deep sighs of relief that she'd made it into the program and now had a good option for life after graduation, then we headed off to see the musical. I think I was watching the scene where fifteen-year-old Kim McAfee starts calling her parents by their first names and her mom is wishing her daughter wasn't growing up quite so fast, when all of a sudden it hit me: if Em goes to Syracuse, she has to be on campus by June 2. This means for the first time ever, we will have no kids at home for the summer. I whispered this to Steve and saw in an instant the thought hadn't yet occurred to him either. He squeezed my hand and we turned our attention back to the show. But later that night after we got home, we tried to come to terms with how we were feeling. Were we happy for her? Absolutely. Proud? You bet. Yet were we sad for ourselves? You better believe it. Suddenly, the summer started stretching out looking long, hot, and lonely. The Syracuse shadow has loomed over me all week.  But then I started thinking about Bye Bye Birdie. One of the main characters in the show is 33-year-old Albert Peterson. Part of the plot revolves around him trying to break the news to his overbearing mother (Mae Peterson) that he is going to dissolve the family business and marry his secretary Rose Alvarez. Deep in the second act when Albert finally gets up the courage to tell his mother, once and for all, she says, "So it's come at last. At last it's come. The day I knew would come at last has come, at last. My sonny-boy doesn't need me anymore." Now there's a part of me that can definitely relate to and sympathize with Mae, but I know I don't want to be Mae. I would never want to get in the way of my kids' futures. So if Em heads off to Syracuse at the beginning of June, we will cheer her on and move her in and hug her hard. Then we will come back to our empty house and muddle through the long, hot summer as best we can, reminding ourselves that July will be easier than June and next summer will be easier than this summer. And maybe one day soon, this blog can find a new direction!


  1. Hmmm. "I've got a condition." One more year for Tess of college then...? and one more year of HS for Henry then college. Am also thinking of what's next. We have been a pretty tight family unit and it will be interesting to see where we choose to journey or where life leads us.

  2. I hear you, Amy! Interesting and a little unnerving--it all goes so fast (just like everyone told us it would)!