I guess; may this year be better than the past two. It's not gotten off to an auspicious start.
The dog seems strangely depressed today. He's lying in his crate while I'm cooking in the kitchen; he's not begging me for food. I think he knows. He knows that the joy of preparing my traditional ham dinner is overshadowed this year by the fact that tomorrow is yet another Goodbye Day. My son is moving out tomorrow, after having lived at home for the past 5 months. He graduated from law school in May and moved home after he took the bar exam at the end of July.
As of the summer of 2009, neither he nor I expected him to ever live at home again. That was before he graduated in the face of the Great Recession and like many of his classmates, had no job lined up. He spent all of his 3rd year of law school, the past summer, and three of the past five months applying for jobs as far away as Alaska. Finally, in October, he got a job offer from a law firm in Fairfax, Virginia, twenty miles from home. He learned he'd passed the bar on October 21st and he started working the following Monday.
So he's going to rent part of the house a friend of his bought a while back --a part that doesn't include the kitchen-- which is two miles from his office. Hence, yet another Goodbye Day. How many have there been since the first, when he moved into a dorm at UVA in August of 2003? I know I've said it before but I'll say it again: the first was by far the worst. The house felt too empty, too quiet. I felt hollow, as though I'd never have anyone to talk to again. I didn't even have the dog, back then. And yet, he was home for Christmas and again for the summer of 2004. And so the cycle began. Seven years of back home, back to school, here and there a summer in Beijing, a semester in Tokyo, then back home, back to school, back home again.
While the first Goodbye day had an illusory feeling of permanence, this one has an illusory feeling of "just another moving day". This should be the last; I don't expect my son to ever live at home again, nor does he expect to. He's 25, his education is complete, he's employed and dipping his toes into the icy, shark-infested waters of financial independence. Let me know how that works out for ya, as they say. He doesn't want to start dating until he has his own place, so Move, I say, Move before I change the locks.
Since August of 2003 I've been an "empty nest mom", and yet it's been this "here again, gone again" thing. After five months of having him home again, I can't remember what my life feels like when he's gone. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.