My Vibe, Jacob's Grand Am, Ryan and Shera's Grand Caravan.
I used to have three cars in my driveway every night. Then, on May 3rd, the white van went away when Ryan and Shera moved into their own home. And then, on May 27th, Jacob moved into the house he would share with Danielle after their wedding, and his little red car was gone. Now my little car looks kind of lonely in that big space.
Shera at her desk as a new manager at Aires.
I never did get a picture of Ryan on the job at K & L Ceramic.
With five of us under the roof, life was hectic. The house was usually cluttered. Schedules sometimes clashed. There was never-ending laundry, meal-planning, and dishes to be taken care of. Many times there was a crisis or drama to be solved. The costs for groceries, electricity, and water increased. We generated more trash each week than our trash collection can could hold.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! For five months our home was filled with laughter and love. There was always something new and exciting happening, from an engagement, to wedding planning (two of them), to baptisms, to new jobs, to new homes. Even between the big events, we always had people to talk to, to share ideas and solutions with, and to lend a hand when needed.
So I'm gonna miss this.
A peach upside-down cake a la Shera.
I'll miss the spontaneous creations of decadent desserts that sometimes (but not always) tempted me off my diet. My kitchen was a very "happening" place! More sugar passed through my kitchen during that five months than it had probably seen in the previous 20 years!
Jacob prepares bratwurst for dinner.
I'll miss Jacob and Shera trying to outdo each other in culinary mastery, and relieving me of dinner duties more often than not, because they always had a great idea they were sure we'd all love! Shera was the clear winner when it came to cooking delicious "heart-attack in a pan" meals from the South.
I'll miss the rowdy affection between my sons (and that includes Ryan), who were just as likely to cuddle on the couch with a movie as they were to wrestle over the last Oreo-cheesecake ball. They'd argue over who made the biggest mess in their bedroom and then share their deepest secrets and defend each other against all opponents. They'll always be close, but now with more miles between.
Jacob and Dylan at El Rancho Mexican Restaurant.
I'll miss having my boys right here when I get a craving and say, "Hey, let's go out to eat tonight!" Or when I need help bringing in groceries or want someone's male opinion on a gift idea. Or when I need something repaired, like a toilet, or my car's fluid levels checked. Or when one of the kids would say, "This movie is supposed to be good. Let's watch it together."
One night last month, Dylan sat by me on the couch and said, "Smile, Mom."
He snapped this picture and posted it to Snapchat, posing his question.
No idea what inspired him to do it, but I thought it was cute!
Thankfully, my nest is not entirely empty yet. Dylan and I still have two years together. He has his junior and senior years of high school ahead of him yet.
Last week I had a small taste of empty nest, and I didn't like it. Jacob and his bride Danielle were all cozy in their new home. Ryan and Shera were busy with their own lives. Sarah and Chris had gone to San Diego to visit Chris's sister Sara there. And Dylan stayed at Sarah and Chris's house to pet-sit their dog Diego and cat Starlight. That left me at home alone. The house was spotless. It was quiet. I had plenty of time to work on my projects and I accomplished a lot. And I was bored out of my mind.
Back in May, Dylan and his friend Brandon tried to solve geometry issues.
On his next-to-last day of pet-sitting, Dylan called me and asked, "Do you know what I've learned, Mom? I NEVER WANT TO LIVE ALONE. I'm so bored!" So, armed with his new appreciation of the value of home and family, my youngest child came home a new man. More helpful, more patient, more upbeat, more caring, more interested, more willing to sit down and have long talks with his mother. Now, that I am liking very much!
May 6: Dinner is ready for Dylan and three friends
And, of course, having a teenage son still at home means often having a house filled with noisy, humorous, rowdy teenage friends. Who eat a lot. And make messes. And create inconvenient disruptions. And suck up electricity and water. And get in the way. And eat a lot. And are very welcome guests in our home.
May 6, 2014: Dylan, Casey, Mikey, and Elijah.
These pictures were taken way back on May 6th, but Dylan seems to invite a group of friends over every couple of weeks. I enjoy having them. Last night (June 19), in fact, he had a different group over: Mikey, Levi, and Juan. Since Jacob's wife was working for the evening, Jacob joined us. I had a beef roast in the crockpot, so Jacob helped me prepare pulled-beef barbecue sandwiches, along with corn and mashed potatoes (with chopped red onion), to feed the crowd. After dinner the guys retired to the game room and played Xbox and PS3 until after midnight.
May 6: After dinner, one more friend had joined the group: Justin.
They spent the evening playing video games.
So I'm not entirely alone. I have Dylan and his many friends. And there are also our wonderful, ongoing family dinners every Sunday.
May 14, 2014: Sunday Dinner
I really am so blessed. Many peoples' children not only move out, but also move far away. I suspect that day may come for me, eventually, but for now Sarah lives about 7 miles away, Jacob lives less than 3 miles away, Ryan lives 3 miles away, and Dylan is still at home. For as long as I have my children around me, I intend to enjoy them to the fullest!
Because, someday, I'm gonna miss this, too.
Jacob and Danielle
Sarah and Chris
Dylan and Mom
I have to go now. Dylan just called from Village 8 Theater, where he's been hanging out with a group of friends today. He asked me if I want to come over and watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 with him and Cameron. And can she come over and hang out tonight after the movie? Looks like another busy night. And I am soooo gonna miss this someday.