We went shopping last weekend. One more time in eighteen years that I have been ever so grateful to have a boy. "Do you need hangers?" He threw a pack in the cart. "Do you think you might need more than a dozen?" He threw another pack in the cart. "Do you need a laundry bag?" He grabbed the nearest one and put it in the cart. The Mister pointed out that maybe Flash would rather have a bag than a plastic hamper that may or may not fit in his closet. Flash put the plastic hamper back and we found a bag. He threw it in the cart.
And so the day went. We bought clothes, shoes, dorm supplies, laundry supplies and lunch - with Flash and his new girlfriend (also off to State). We made lists and we crossed things off and we added more and we grabbed things on the fly we hadn't even thought of.
Isn't that how it is, this parenting thing? We prepare and we think and we parent with a certain integrity and set of morals but then we cross off what doesn't work and we add in new things that do make a difference and we add a whole lot of things on the fly.
And we wonder, as we look at it all, packed up and ready to walk out the door, is it enough? Is it all the right things? Is this all unnecessary? Is the balance between necessities and fun things in check? Does he have what he needs to be successful or will he be scrounging to catch up when he's on his own?
In a week, we will finish packing it all up, and we will drive him to his dorm and help him arrange and unpack (I suspect it will be much like shopping - toss this here, toss that there, call it good!) and we will leave him to fend for himself and to forge his life down his own path.
The Mister and I have big plans when he is gone. Much-needed repairs and rennovations to the downstairs bathroom, reorganizing of the bedrooms, cleaning out cabinets and making the space our own again. I'm doubled up on grad classes in September and the start of a new school year is always a busy time. The Mister has a couple projects he's gearing up for and has been looking into maybe taking a cooking class to fuel his passion.
I wonder if I am ready!? Do I have all the right things to handle life without the teenager? Do I have enough of the necessities and enough of the fun things to keep a good balance? Are we prepared for this next chapter in our life?
I suspect, just like Flash, we will be making up new lists of things to do and try, and crossing off things that don't work or we don't like along the way. And there will probably be a whole lot of things we add on the fly. Sometimes, those are the best kinds of things.