Things are happening. Lots of things, and most of them are good. Last weekend we had a party for all the March and April birthdays in our family. It was a special celebration for both of my boys, as one is turning thirty and the other twenty-one. My oldest is finishing up his first year as a high school teacher, and he’s a newlywed as well, so this is a period of change and growth for him as much as for his little brother. We’ve had many conversations about his experiences with the teenagers in his classroom, how they behave and don’t behave, how they challenge his patience, nerve, and creativity. It’s a lot to deal with. Much more than I could manage. I have thoughts about some of these feral behaviors, the insolence and entitlement (god, do I feel old when spouting the “kids these days” mentality), but I’ll save those for another time.

My youngest, twenty-one tomorrow, is leaving for Air Force boot camp in a couple of weeks. This is huge for him, a leap into the unknown, but hopefully a positive one. The COVID lockdown caught him at an unfortunate time, the tail end of his senior year of high school, and since then he’s been struggling to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He’s been stuck, and the past few years have been, let’s say, unfruitful. So this forward movement is a good thing, and I think the military option is a solid choice for him. He needs that structure and some intensive training to point him in the right direction. Of course the mother in me worries for him—what if he’s unhappy, what if he gets hurt, what if he loves it and he’s gone for years and years and never comes home to visit (the most likely scenario, to be honest). What will my life be like without him?

It’s hard not to imagine how big this house will soon become. All these empty rooms. Not having my son here at night while his dad’s at work, not to have his company and his help around the house. This is a big change for both of us.

But it’s okay. It’s time.

I think my husband is feeling some of this, too, especially since we just lost Henry. Last Friday he brought home a ten-week-old puppy, a little ruby Cavalier who roams the house like a bumblebee and whose expression has all the comical sternness of an Ewok. We named her Rosie. She’s a lovebug, but she’s also a puppy who needs a lot of training and attention, so she’ll be a good distraction for those times when the nest feels especially empty. She’ll give me a good reason to get out of the house, too, because I want to take her to work once she’s housetrained and get her socialized in different situations. Today we’re having lunch at my mom’s, and maybe a walk or two on the leash for the first time.

So with baby steps and big steps, this family’s on the move. And it looks like everyone is ready to go.

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