My friend Deborah B. recently Facebooked (yep, it’s a verb in my dictionary) that all of us parents whose kids have moved on to college are living a “new normal.” And she’s absolutely right!
Now when I check in my #1 son’s room in the morning, his bed is filled with his younger brother’s still-growing body—my #2 son has moved his beloved University of Houston blanket from the top bunk and has taken over his older brother’s lower bunk bed. I must admit that it startled me at first to see someone else sleeping in #1’s spot (after checking on him there for a decade). But now it’s our new normal.
We also have a new normal in our refrigerator. The top shelf used to have several bottles of my #1 son’s favorite drinks, Simply Lemonade and Simply Limeade. But now those bottles are gone, replaced with my #2 son’s Gatorade and flavored water. I will buy a bottle of the lemonade for this weekend when #1 visits. But after that, our fridge will once again mourn Simply’s loss until Thanksgiving.
Our new normal in the game room gives me pause. Yes, my #2 son still plays his favorite video games there, but it seems lonely without his older brother and my “third son,” Chase. I’m hoping to hear their laughter and excited chatter this weekend when both return home.
I must admit that it’s the little things in our new normal that make me sad: Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night thinking about when #1 will be home from work . . . and then remembering that he doesn’t really live here anymore nor does he work; watching “Wipeout” without him and missing his witty wisecracks; not seeing him read the comics in the “Houston Chronicle” every morning as he eats his watermelon chunks.
I have my #1 son’s favorite drumsticks in my office. He would always use them to drum on the seatbacks in the car when his dad or I was driving. He said he wouldn’t need them at college, so he left them at home.
Home . . . where the new normal still includes me missing him every single day.