I could swear that yesterday I was pushing my third son (and last child) out into the world. It was yesterday. I remember it clearly. It took us nearly eighteen hours longer to name him than to have him. Now look at him! He's standing at my fridge grazing like the whole Devouring Hoard. If I look really hard there might be an ancient ketchup packet left after he's done. (It's a crying shame that he doesn't go ahead and wipe down the inside while he's grazing.)
And that's the baby. There are five others. I can't imagine how that happened since, in my head, I'm only a twiggy twenty-five-year-old college kid. The child units keep accurate track of exactly how old I am, though, so they can correctly inform people who I've been trying to gull into believing my alternate-universe ploy. Thanks kids. There'll be Brussels sprouts for dinner.
How is it possible that all those years of music lessons and thirty-plus concerts a year will soon come to an abrupt end? I'll have to borrow someone else's children to fill up my extra hours. Seems strange that they'll all trundle off to college and there'll be days and days of extra quiet writing time. What will I ever do without my evening hours being full of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Batman cartoons? (We'll still watch Dr. Who, of course.)
How will I ever wake up correctly without needing to stumble out to the car to take them all off to Seminary? There won't be any shrieking about who's still hogging the mirror or who left the towels on their bedroom floor (along with everything else they own). I won't be tripping on text books and smelly tennis shoes and violins and crumb-strewn plates.
The first one already flew the coop and set the precedent, first to college, then a mission to Ecuador, then back to college and now to a life with her own family. A new crop of babies is growing up around her knees, but too far away from here for my liking (although perhaps not for my sanity...:o) Thank Heavens for Skype and phones.
My middle son leaves in just over thirty days for his mission in Russia. He's the funny one who says everything in various accents (including Pinky from Pinky and the Brain and Arnold Schwartzenegger--sometimes together). For two long years he'll be off teaching the gospel (and freezing) while we slog on here at home, mirthless and sad without him. Who will prank phone solicitors or laugh at my attempts?
Almost at the same time, the middle daughter graduates from high school and heads off to college, leaving our home bereft of cello music and Latin phrases and songs belted out at the top of her lungs.
I can hear the halls echoing already. Can it already be time to start looking around for mission ideas? There's no way I'm that ancient! It was just last month that I was rock climbing with my friends and bumming around Europe, two years before my own graduation. Last week I was spreading my own wings and flying off to Alaska to can salmon. Just a day ago I was trying to get the keys out of the trunk at the temple so I wouldn't be late to my own wedding luncheon. Hours ago I was waddling up to the podium to accept my college graduation certificate, hoping my water wouldn't break on the way. Seems like hours anyway.
Am I standing at the precipice with more than a little trepidation? Maybe. How can the next phase be as full and busy and crazy and annoying and mind-blowing and wonderful as the last one? I'm going to have to get to know that man who sleeps next to me all over again. Maybe we'll even have a date! Woo hoo!
H. Linn Murphy