The kids have grown up now. They are gone – but not forgotten. Some people lament the fact that children become adults and leave the nest. Not me! I still remember how it was when my three urchins were small. If I ever forget, all I have to do is look at my mother’s ring with a different color of birthstone for every child. Other women have diamond jewelry, mine is a rainbow hue.
While other people have children that make them proud, the bumper sticker on my car always read: “My child is a wannabe honor student.” After they were finally all gone, it took years for me to wear out the old television and get a new one with a remote control that was not stuck at the Saturday morning cartoon channel.
I guess it wasn’t so bad, if your idea of eating out is spending an hour pondering the earth shaking decision of whether to get chicken nuggets or a burger in the Happy Meals. For a while, I could go to PTA meetings for an evening away from the brats, but soon they got wise to that and they wanted to go too. For vacations, we always ended up at theme parks. I’ve covered endless miles pushing a rented baby stroller.
Sometimes I wonder how I made it without a nervous breakdown, but I suppose it is because it just never did fit in my schedule. Now that the kids are gone, the cockroaches that boycotted their rooms are petitioning me to come back. They probably think the peanut butter sandwiches under the bed are still there.
If I feel lonesome, I just sit on the sofa and imagine that candy wrappers are crackling under the cushions or drink my coffee from a training cup instead of a coffee mug. When the kids were home, we called our furniture the upholstered trampolines. The cracks of the furniture can still produce lost lunch money or a sticky Popsicle stick.
I have paid off the second mortgage that we took out to get the kids dental braces. Now I can actually go to the bathroom without locking the door and take a bath in something besides Mr. Bubbles. Now I have name other than “The Moss Kids’ Mother.” I used to threaten to change my title from mother to one the kids didn’t know so they couldn’t yell at me to find things for them.
“Mom!!! Where’s my shoes?”
“I don’t know – I didn’t wear them last!”
The medicine cabinet no longer has glow-in-the-dark band aids, or M & M’s for imaginary illnesses. When I go out, I do not have an entourage of backseat drivers in car seats. Best of all, I can go shopping at stores other than Walmart, real stores that do not even have shopping carts. I can now stay up past 8 p.m. without worrying about falling asleep before the kids do.
I still have a hard time remembering life before children – it seems as if the kids were always there, born before I was. My goal in life was just to get ’em raised and get rid of ’em. Now that they are gone, you really think I miss ’em and want ’em back? Hardly!
I have finally reached my biggest goal as a mother. I can send the brats home and it’s someplace else. I gleefully pass the gauntlet from Toy R Us to the next generation. But I can’t deny knowing every word of the Dr. Suess ABC book by heart. There are some things a even a recovering mom just can’t forget.