By Allison Adams 08-22-11 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 08-22-11
In the past five years I’ve successfully sent two children off to college.
I must admit that I thought I might need to be institutionalized after I let my firstborn baby girl go.
Beginning with her high school graduation ceremony, I wept incessantly through the summer.
I didn’t even enjoy shopping for her dorm room. (Well, maybe just a little.)
I got her settled in her new room on campus without too much of a fuss. And as I turned to leave her on her own, I was certain that I was too dehydrated to be able to make much of a scene.
But I completely underestimated me.
Eventually, after about a year, my weeping waned, and I adjusted to the shift in our family dynamics.
I became comfortable with the New Normal.
When I sent my second baby girl to college I was better prepared for the event because I was a college move-in survivor.
I actually enjoyed getting ready for her new adventure.
I shopped really well.
When it came time to move her in to her dorm I managed to do it efficiently, and without an emotional breakdown … until I drove off, leaving her on campus alongside a sweet roommate, in a cutely decorated room with color coordinated bedding.
I broke down again when I got home and realized I was now the only girl in my house.
In the time it took me to reach for a box of tissue, I lost all control of everything electronic to my husband and my son.
I haven’t seen the clicker since.
Eventually, after about a year, I forgave my daughters for abandoning me, and I became tolerant of the New Normal.
Well. The time has come to push my last baby bird out of the nest.
I believe he is ready to spread his wings.
Since I survived the first two birdies flying away, I called upon those memorable experiences to brace myself for this one.
In recent weeks, among the other momma birds wrestling with their emotions at the thought of letting go of their first or second babe, I’ve been the voice of reason and reassurance.
Yesterday I took my know-it-all, righteous, emotionally-void self to the grocery to pick up a few things.
I browsed coolly through the produce department and then headed down the first aisle, stopping in front of the Moon Pie display.
I instinctively reached for a carton of double-decker, chocolate, Moon Pies, and that’s when it hit me: in 24 hours my house would be minus its only remaining double-decker, chocolate Moon Pie eater.
I choked on a whimper, and put the carton back on the shelf.
When I passed the gigantic boxes of Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I stifled a sob.
I erratically maneuvered my buggy down the chip & snack aisle, barely blocking a big, ugly cry when I rounded the corner and came face-to-face with a freezer full of DiGiorno Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza, which were on special.
I melodramatically melted in front of the Mayfield’s Moose Tracks, and threw a carton in my buggy. (I’m not an idiot.)
By the time I left the store I was a blubbering basket case.
Forget what I said before. The third time is NOT the charm.
My baby boy bird is leaving me with an empty nest!
WOE IS I!
I am NOT braced and ready!
Mop the floor with me!
Leave me alone with my carton of Moose Tracks and my beloved Fifth Dimension cd, ‘cause Marilyn McCoo is singing my song:
“One less bell to answer.
“One less egg to fry.
“One less man to pick up after.
“I should be happy…
“But all I do is cry ….”