With the birth of each child, I used to wonder how long it would take to reach our new normal - that moment when we would adjust to our new life and all that went with it.
I would be lying if I told you this wasn't an emotional summer. I've seen it coming for years now and have even been known to cry at the end of a family vacation just thinking about it. Our oldest went to college a couple of weeks ago. His father and I knew that he was more than prepared to succeed in the next step in life's journey. Years of waking himself up and getting rides to 5:00AM swim practice (because his parents preferred sleeping) told us that he was driven to achieve the goals before him. These were goals he set for himself and not goals that Mom and Dad set for him. We knew he was ready for the next step in life and that we needed to be strong even though saying good-bye would be one of the hardest things we've ever done.
Over the summer my memory filled with snapshots of moments. I didn't share all of those moments on instagram and shared very little on the blog. Rather, I gave myself time to process how I was feeling and really take in every moment before me. I think of the time the boys and I drove to Maryland together and the song "I Hope You Dance" played on the radio. He listened contentedly (I was fighting back the tears) and when the song was over Tyler mentioned that this song played at his high school convocation and I reminded him that it was also played at his pre-school graduation. He replied with, "I guess that hit you in the feels". He knows how a song can get me...or a moment. It just happens and I'm OK with that. I figure it is better to let emotions out than to deny them or be afraid to admit a certain feeling. Sometimes I wish I could fight off tears a little better, but that's just how I am.
Each spring I am reminded of how quickly life passes before us, especially once you start raising a family. I've often watched the birds on our front porch. Once they choose a place to build their nest, the male feeds the female while she keeps the eggs warm. In no time the babies are born and both mother and father work to keep them fed. In the blink of an eye I hear both parents on distant branches calling for their fledglings to fly. After much encouragement, they always fly. So now our it is our turn.
The nest has been built and the fledgling has flown. Here we are, a family of three. Mornings are much quieter now that our oldest son isn't here in the mornings making a huge breakfast and chatting it up after practice. I miss hearing the front door open and the "hello" that shortly followed. Mattie Gray (our dog) misses him too - I'm sure. Although we miss him, there is an upside. Evenings are smoother because now we eat at a civilized hour rather than wait until after swim practice to eat together as a family. I'm not buying nearly as many groceries or washing as many clothes. Our youngest son has no competition now and is most likely getting tired of all the attention he is getting from his parents :). I'm sure it is hard on him too in ways he may never admit.
So for now, we are enjoying our time with our only son at home (who also happens to be an amazing kid). We have a renewed appreciation for him and are making the most of our time together. I guess you could say that's our new normal.