This past weekend we took Zach on his first college visit to Virginia Military Institute.  It was a great weekend, a spectacular visit and a perfect fit for Zach.  For me, as you can probably guess, it was more than a little emotional, as I thought about Zach leaving his third floor room empty and living in the mountains of Virginia.

VMI is the only school he wants to attend.  He fell in love and is ready to commit to a spartan life to acquire the education and the life he wants.  All I can say, “I love you, Zach” and, “I’m proud of you,”  and, “Wow! You are one in a million!”  As I sat listening to the leadership of VMI talk about their school and the kinds of kids who want to attend their school, I could only think of it as being a great fit for Zach. It’s not an ordinary experience and Zach isn’t an ordinary kid.  So the fit seems just right.

The only problem is that Zach has to leave home, and me, to get the education he wants.  I’ve always known this day would come.  Granted it came a lot faster than I ever thought it would and I know it’s still a year away, but time will speed on and get us to the day Zach leaves home for the first time before I can bat an eye. As I sat listening to all of the meetings at VMI,  and realizing what a great school it would be for Zach, I had visions of life fast forwarding and it left me wondering where Lucas and Claire would find their perfect fits.  And then I imagined the house quiet and empty.

I had to banish those thoughts and work hard to focus on Zach’s excitement, otherwise my tears that were lurking just below the surface would come spilling forth and I’d be an embarrassment to Zach at the Institute he so wants to be part of.

It was a busy, exhausting day and half but I survived and even thrived when I kept the thoughts of an empty house at bay.  We came home to more busy-ness and marched on toward our other obligations.  Lucas had a hockey game and then Stan and I had an evening out to celebrate a milestone birthday of a friend.  Zach retreated to his third floor room to recuperate from his grueling weekend at VMI.

With our evening of obligations, fun and festivities complete, Stan and I came home to a very unclean kitchen and I flipped a gasket.  It was the one thing I told the kids to do as we left for our dinner out ~ clean the kitchen.  I wanted to come home to clean counters, tables, floors, sink and appliances.  I love a clean kitchen and the kids know it.  The kitchen that greeted me was no where near the image of the clean kitchen I know the kids are capable of.  I was most unimpressed with the conditions I found and I proceeded to make everyone aware of my displeasure.  I made the kids clean the kitchen at 11 o’clock last night as I stormed through the house grumbling about how no one, but no one, wants to do what I’ve asked them to do.

This morning I found this….

How very true and how very contrite it made me.  Our house will be empty before I know it.  Maybe I need to take a step back, just a little one mind you, and remember the emotional aspects of Zach’s college visit, time speeding on and seeing our kids find their perfect fit.  Maybe then a messy kitchen won’t seem so bad when it’s compared with an empty house.
Oh, for the love of my children…  

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