January Reflections and Projections

I took last week off for Christmas, as promised, but not because I didn’t have anything to say.  My husband and I both caught the Cold From Hell, and it flattened us, to greater and lesser degrees, for two weeks.
The week before Christmas is a blur. We didn’t feel good enough to do many of the things we normally do—bake cookies, play games, sit upright for longer than thirty minutes at a time…. The week after Christmas is a NyQuil-induced daze, complicated by the panic of getting our son ready to go on his first trip away since 6th grade Science Camp.
So this is a blog about opportunities missed and taken and changes looming that we are ready (or not quite ready) for.
My boyo went to France with a school group over break. It was a short trip, just a week there, but we are grateful that he had the opportunity and we had the funds. I really believe travel is transformative, and wanted badly to be able to give my kids that experience. But doing that means he is ready.
He is graduating high school this June, but he belongs to this generation (maybe especially in Southern California, but maybe not) of kids who opt to live at home a few years longer, who choose to go to school locally for that reason, who don’t even drive until they feel they have to.
But this was the first step. The trip abroad, without any parental supervision. In the coming months he’ll get a driver’s license and choose a college, and the baby steps toward maturity will gain momentum.  They’ll have to. His sister, not quite two years his junior, will overtake him if he doesn’t.
So because we have an older boy who prefers to stay close and a younger girl who chomps at the bit, we stand to have an empty nest in a couple years. We’re doing what we can to help their transition and ours.
Because we were sick in the days before he left (and because he’s seventeen), the boy got less guidance on prepping for his trip. He comes home tomorrow, and all appears to have gone just fine. Because we are shifting gears from parents of munchkins to parents of young adults, we are tweaking our jobs and investing in our hobbies. In five years our lives will look radically different than they have for the last ten or so, so we’re buckling up and preparing for impact.
Regardless of our best-laid plans for this break that remain unrealized, it is over. I go back to work tomorrow, and the kids are back in school next week. But we’ve got each other, we like each other, and we’re helping each other move forward. There may even be cookies. 

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