Friday, August 13, 2004

Empty Nest Countdown

The Empty Nest is in site with only a week or so before the exodus begins. Matthew will be leaving for Ithaca College on Sunday, Aug 22; Brian will be leaving for Alma College on August 24; Adam will be heading off to The Hartt School on August 27; Ryan will be leaving for Colorado on August 30; and James will be heading back to New Hampshire. I can almost hear the ticking get louder when I tune in to all the emotions that seem to surface lately.

Finally tonight, we were able to find a time that we could sit down together to review all the college papework that has been accumulating over the past month. If we had done this two days earlier we could have saved ourselves a $250 late fee; but when you're looking at a $35,000 a year tuition fee, that is a drop in the bucket and nobody flinched over it. I managed to refrain from my frequent urges to try to get in a final attempt to ingrain my final piece of parental influence that might fill in some of the places I'd miss in preparing my son's for their flight from the nest. I didn't even sigh when I added "Send out your graduation thank you notes" on the TO DO list for what seems like the 50th time.

As soon as he could sneak away, Adam made a beeline for the door to venture South to Lyndonville to spend the evening with his girlfriend. The parent in me, ignored the fact that he is now 18 and I caught myself trying to get a commitment about when he would be returning home. But tonight, it wasn't just about 'not letting go'; it had more to do with the 70,000 - 100,000 people that were driving into the Northeast Kingdom to see Phish's Farewell Coventry Concert. I described the supermarket scene from last night where young people were filling their carts with enough water, food, beer, charcoal brickets to last the 3 day music festival. He really didn't get what that had to do with his driving to Lyndonville and back and agreed to leave Lyndonville a little after midnight and be home by 1:00. Even though it was against my better judgment, I reminded myself that I needed to let go and made him promise to drive defensively. (whatever that means) Well I think he got a better idea on his ride home driving less than 20 miles an hour in the left hand lane of I - 91 as 30 miles of standstill traffic of concert goers yelled at him to 'wait in line' from the right lane. Meanwhile, I lay awake praying that his being over an hour late did not mean he was stuck in concert traffic or that he had not run out of gas, and wondering if he would have a clue what to do if he ran out of gas at 2:00 in the morning. Not that I had a clue what I'd do if he called me to tell me that he had run out. I called the State Police and they assured me that albeit the slow and congested traffic, that non-concert goers were moving on up slowly. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be able to rest and sleep, I decided to start this blog to help pass the time.

Well, Adam, just pulled in and gave us an update on the masses of people lining I -91. Sounds like quite the site. But with my children all home all snug in their beds, I’ll head off to bed myself and hope that Ryan is toasty warm around a campfire surrounded by 70,000 Phish fans. My guess from his afternoon phone call from his cell is that he probably arrived in time to cross into the camping area gate. Although it had been over 2 hours since they had moved in traffic, he wasn’t stuck on I -91; and he and his friends were hopping back and forth between vehicles; and when he got really bored he went for a ride on his skateboard in and around the extended “parking lot”. In any case, it made me feel really really really good that he called. I hope he checks in again later. Good night ( mean good morning).