There's a very nice man who occasionally walks his dog past our corner of the woods. We've spoken a few times to exclaim over each other's pet (his is definitely on crack cocaine; ours has 3 paws in the hereafter). Tonight, as Bandit wagged his tail and then lost track of what he was doing, I explained the old boy was 17 years old and nearer to God than thee.
"You mean this is the dog from your children's childhood?" he asked.
"Yes, and a living example of the power of costly veterinary care," I replied. "Imagine your dog in 14 years." (At that moment, she was joyously ricocheting off the earth and, occasionally, Bandit.)
As he gave Bandit a pat, he said imagining his children 14 years from now made him sad. His eldest was just finishing his first year of high school, the others were in junior high and grade school. Time seems to be speeding up, he said. And it made him sad to think about it.
I felt absolutely terrible for making him feel sad, particularly when I'm feeling rather invigorated myself. I'm enjoying this thing called freedom, which may be heretical and invalidate my Mom Card, but I am quite serene about it, thank you.
And while I have sometimes missed the carloads of kids, their stories of love lost and love attained, the swim meets and plays and assemblies and pomp and hoopla, I miss the careening back and forth not at all. And there is less laundry now, which is always a plus.
Kids, you know I love you. I am so glad you are launched and doing marvelously on your own. Which was the plan all along.
Go, you. Go, us.