Sleepover by Robin Gorman Newman

My son had his first sleepover at a friend’s house. 

While he embraced it, I got a quick dose of empty nest syndrome, and it caught me by surprise.

I didn’t think that one night away would inspire such introspective thinking, but it did.

I’ve long joked about Seth being 8 going on 18, but knowing he was out of the house made that thought seem all the more real.  And, the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that before I know it, he will be out of the house.  First to hang with his friends who he chooses over his parents…and then for good when he’s able to stand on his own, two, lanky, independent Skecher’s-clad feet.

No more will he run into my bedroom in the morning screaming “mommy, mommy”….jumping on my bed in glee to give me a hug.  No more will I have to trail behind him picking up streams of toys, underwear, food crumbs, Game Boy games, etc.  No more will I have to remind him endlessly to pee in the toilet versus all over the seat.  No more will I have to coax him into the bathtub using Mr. Bubble.  No more will I watch as the school bus comes and goes with him on it.  No more will I feel challenged to cook a meal that he’ll eat with delight.  No more will he curl up his 55 lb. body on my lap as I sit at my laptop in my office.

Raising a child is hard work.  At times it feels thankless and exasperating.  But, I know it’s not forever, though he’ll always be my son, and his welfare will remain utmost in my mind.

Life is full of phases, and sometimes while we’re in them, they appear to move slowly when in reality they fly by.  I find this especially true if I’m enjoying something.  In the blink of an eye, it’s over.  Whereas if something is difficult or painstaking, I tell myself, “and this too shall pass,” but I don’t like to wish time away either…and you never know what is coming around the corner.  So, I try my best to stay in the moment, but we all have our moments that we want to end.

I don’t want my son’s youth to end.  He’s already a big boy, and when I peruse some of his smaller size clothing and toys that I’ve saved, it feels a bit melancholy.

I know that more sleepovers will follow.  One day at our house as well, which will be a unique experience…having someone else’s child sleep here. 

Nothing prepares you for parenthood, and nothing prepares you for the quiet when your child isn’t at home.

There are times when I relish the quiet, when my son is at school.  But, then I know he will be walking in the door.

One day, his presence will feel more like that of a visitor.  As he matures, we are working more and more toward that. So, for today, I’m gonna take all the delicious hugs and kisses from Seth that come my way, and deliver them lovingly and generously in return.  There’s no time like the present.   And, there’s no better holiday present than my son’s impish smile, and the pride I take in witnessing his development.

Here’s wishing you and your family a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday and new year!! 
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