Signs of summer are emerging. The little patch of Hyacinth in the back yard and the Flowering Crab Apple tree in the front have bloomed and dropped their blossoms already. The Irises by the shed have sprouted and the Hostas under the deck are beginning to stretch up and outward.
Kacey sends text messages from school to work out plans to come home over Mother’s Day weekend. It will be her birthday and she wants to spend time with friends who will be going to prom that weekend. She won’t be done quite yet but wants to move some of the bigger stuff out of her dorm and spend a few days at home before going back mid-week to take her finals and finish up her freshman year of college. When she goes back that last week, she’ll be saying goodbye to friends she’s made during her first year of school, a more permanent goodbye than you might expect. She’s transferring to a new school next fall. It’s only slightly farther away from home than she is now, and she’ll be happier there. I can already tell. Story for another time, maybe.
Brad isn’t coming home this summer. It will be the first summer since he started college that he won’t be back home. He’s got a good job where he is, and summer classes to tackle so he can graduate by this fall. He has a new apartment, and a girlfriend and dog who love him and who make him very happy. That makes it easier for me to accept that his life becomes more his own every day. But it’s a bittersweet feeling.
Of course, Jake is still home, not that I see him very often. I sometimes go entire days without seeing him. And even when he’s not working, he’s gone, usually off somewhere with his buddies, playing football or working on cars.
We’re at a strange phase in life, not quite past the parenting phase but far from fully immersed in it. I enjoy the freedom of this stage of life, but still find myself quite often reminiscing wistfully about the past. I wonder if that wistful feeling will pass someday and I’ll fully embrace the empty nest.
Regardless, we’re going to take advantage of our extra space and freedom this summer. I have a shoulder that’s screaming out for a new memory-foam mattress. Our new bed will be the catalyst for improvements in the kids’ bedrooms. Jake will move to Brad’s bedroom, which is smaller than his, but in better shape. He’s perfectly willing to make the switch and will get a new bed out of the deal. His six-foot-something frame has rather outgrown his twin bed.
Jake’s current room needs an overhaul – new flooring, new window coverings and new paint. I’ve always decorated the kids rooms in colors of their choosing. The last time we painted Jake’s room, he was in an orange phase. It’s time to cover up the orange with something a little more subtle, I think. Our queen size bed will move to that room, which will now become the guest/Brad’s room.
Kacey’s room – now that’s another story. Her walls were painted several years ago in a patchwork of oranges, deep pinks and reds. I dread the thought of painting over it all. I’m sure it’s going to take several coats of primer to cover it up.
With so much new in the works, I think we’ll just leave Kacey’s room alone for the time being. Besides, I like the fact that the “crazy” room reminds me that my baby girl will continue to come home to me, at least for another summer or two. I like the fact that there is something so full of life with her personality written all over it, something that fills me with smiles and anticipation, something to welcome her home as long as she wants to come back.
No, I really don’t want to change that room at all. Not yet.