I am about to deliver my younger child to college for her freshman year, thus ushering in this next phase of my life, in which no children will be living in my house. It marks the end of more than two delicious decades in which my most important obligation was raising my two wonderful daughters. It is, as you can imagine, a deeply bittersweet moment.
Along with all the packing and preparing there has been a fair amount of cleaning and clearing. Both of my daughters have, over the past few weeks, done yeomen's jobs (or yeowomen's jobs?) of cleaning out both their rooms and the common space they shared as kids. We have gotten rid of piles of old clothes, dead notebooks, school supplies. And because tomorrow is garbage day, today was the moment to take the big step of emptying the Display Shelf of Three-Dimensional Art.
Yes, these are all the handmade treasures that could not easily be stored in a portfolio of drawings and paintings, or -- even better -- slipped surreptitiously into the recycling bin. So here they came to rest.
Ah, memories. It goes by so fast. It truly does.
So I have this message for my younger friends, those of you who still have little children at home:
When you look into the heart-breakingly beautiful faces of your precious children, those innocent smiles, those trusting eyes, know that in 13 or 15 or 18 years, years that will fly by more quickly than you can imagine, you, too, will be able to take all of the shit with which your children have been clogging your home, and dump it in the trash.
You will not mind at all. And neither will they. In fact, they may even help.
By that time, if all goes well, they will have turned into adult humans with whom you will be thoroughly delighted to share a cup of coffee or a burrito or a beer.
Hopefully they will have learned to spell.
They will have skills, and interests, and opinions all their own, some of which -- or who knows? maybe all of which -- are wholly different from yours.
And none of which, God willing, will in any way involve painting crappy little cows made out of plaster.