Two More Days…

There’s a song by Burt Bacharach that’s run through my head every day this summer – my constant earworm. And lately it’s been getting louder and louder as I close in to Operation Empty Nest:

 One less man to pick up after… I should be happy. But all I do is cry.

— One Less Bell to Answer

Well, I shout and whoop for joy sometimes too, like when I realize I’ll be able to walk around in my jammies without having to mummify myself in the fluffer-robe…,

If only I looked so cute

If only I looked so cute

but mostly I sniffle and choke down the lump in my throat.

Two more days, and Wings moves into his apartment style dorm. Four guys with their own bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living area and – YES! – their own washer/dryer (which I’m sure will be the tiny model that fits one pair of man-sized jeans , but hey… it’s one pair of clean jeans, right?

Wings has been collecting my cast off kitchen things: the yellow strainer that’s too small for a 3man-sized spaghetti dinner , that plastic set of tongs that somebody used in a hot fondue pot (don’t ask) so the fork prongs melted, the skillet with the mystery – food tattoo that nobody knows how it got there.

This might be the source of the food tatoo

This might be the source of the food tattoo – roasted tomatoes


And while I’m happy with the extra space his pilfering has brought me, all of those things – and everything that’s left – carry with them memories of endless pots of spaghetti when I went to grad school at night or odd casseroles that used up the leftover bites of this and that in the fridge (because thanks to my Depression era parents it’s a sin to throw food away). Outside of his room at the end of the hall is his pile – more like a tower – of groceries, linens,  pilfered kitchen items and beginner plastic furnishings.

When we first moved into this house our kitchen dining set was our plastic patio table and  lawn chairs. A fun adventure for 6 and 3 year olds, a money saver for cash poor new homeowners.

I guess that stuck with Wings.

Photo by AJC Staff Photographer, John Spink: © Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Photo by AJC Staff Photographer, John Spink: © Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Sometimes I wish I were a panda mama like Lun Lun at Zoo Atlanta. Because if I were a panda mama I’d have no problem with letting go I think. I wouldn’t have these crazy memory attachments on pots and tongs and plastic furniture. I’d be okay with letting my panda cub go off into the wilderness to forage and survive without advice on how to not to overstuff the washing machine and avoid flooding the apartment.

But then I wouldn’t have those crazy memories to hang onto for myself, would I?

I wonder… Do panda mamas recognize their offspring after they’re full grown and off into their independent lives?   I hope so, if only to give them something to look forward to, like weekend visits and (ohgodplease!) phone calls.

More importantly, do panda sons… I mean, cubs … recognize their mamas after they’re grown and come of drinking age and discovered girls… and girls have discovered them back?  At least at times other than the holidays and Mother’s Day and shopping trips to stock up on wine and Limearitas?

I have a good support network of women who have done this before me, and goodness knows it’s time for this cub to go. So I’ll wear my big Hollywood sunglasses to hide my tears and hug him tight and enjoy my memories and more spacious kitchen.

Until the next day, when Fins leaves for his dorm.



6 thoughts on “Two More Days…

  1. Reading this I feel transported back in time. It was so bittersweet. Pride, fear, sadness, relief…so many emotions. And after Son1 boomeranged back for four years, when he moved out again three months ago, I’m going through it all again. At least I can walk around without a bra again! LOL It’s another passage for you; through all the conflicting emotions, I hope you’ll feel the pride you’ve earned in preparing your son well for this new passage in his own life.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I have hopes that these ‘off to college’ posts are preparing me and as I have said, helping me appreciate what I have now, for the last 3 years. Ann

  3. Pamela, we are two moms (two families) who have dropped off our eldest three sons at the freshman dorms so we know the feeling you describe so well. Luckily for us, we have our youngest two still at home so life with kids under roof continues. During college our son was in and out so much that we never went for very long without seeing him. But that drop off day and the much quieter house take some getting used to! Best of luck to you both!

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