08 July 2013

Empty Nest, The Void

There are only three more overnights here for my daughter in the next couple weeks before she heads off for some time abroad at her aunt and uncle's before starting college.  As of July 17, I'm done with day-to-day life with a kid in tow, and the process begun almost 21 years ago with the birth of her sisters will have come to its inevitable conclusion.

Wow.  It really is amazing to begin to see just how much of my self-understanding has been wrapped up with being a parent all this time.  As I'm looking forward on the calendar, I'm realizing I no longer have to plan around school events, track practice, karate lessons and sleepovers.  It's dawning on me that I don't need a Plan B any more for when a kid is sick.  I won't be running to the store for those foods the kids like but I don't when we unexpectedly run out.

I can easily see how couples who have defined their marriage around the kids can find themselves at this point looking at each other like total strangers.  I've had a lot of things besides parenting going on in my life, but even I'm looking at myself in the mirror now and wondering, "Well, what's next?  Who else are you?  What have you become after all this time?"

And I don't know the answers to those questions, but I know a different answer to a very similar question.  What is the way to Taishan?  Straight ahead!  Straight ahead!

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