Tuesday, August 9, 2011


While sitting at the kitchen table this morning, stressing out about the piles and piles of clothing on the floor of college-bound son's room and the fact that he doesn't have a navy blue blazer, I came up with a genius of an idea, if I do say so myself.  He is out golfing today with a buddy, so he isn't stressing.  Why on earth should I?  Why am I even thinking of counting how many pairs of underwear he has and wondering if he has enough to get through a couple of weeks without the comforts of his home washing machine just downstairs?  (He does do most of his own laundry, grâce à Dieu.  He already knows how to sort and load the machine.)  I have a rare day with nothing to do.  I do not have to report to school, either to the middle school office where I have been working this summer or to my classroom.  All of my laundry is done and put away.  The dishes are washed.  My bed is made up.  We are, admittedly, the Ex-Ex and I, pretty neat people. 
But college-bound son's room looks like this--
The clothes are clean.  And more or less folded.
The computer room looks like this--
It is the holding space for the stuff he plans to take with him.  There are boxes of office supplies, a small coffee maker, filters, and Dunkin Donuts coffee, a box of bathroom stuff and band-aids, and a box of bed linens and towels, topped by the Vols hat. 
If I play amateur psychologist (I did minor in Psychology back in the Dark Ages, after all), then I know that I am stressing over underwear instead of focusing on how much I am going to miss the boy when I return to an empty upstairs on Sunday after we drop him off.  All normal emotions.  His older brother is now gainfully employed, living in Greensboro and sweating in the hot summer sun while lining fields for high school soccer and field hockey practices and games.  So, we will join the empty nest households, living under the watchful eye of Rusty, who will miss college-bound son as much as we will.
Rusty is guarding the door to son's room.  This cat actually cries when c-b son leaves the house.  Hopefully, he has a short memory.  Or he may become an outdoor cat.
So, my solution, my way to escape?  Load up my "stuff"
and head to the nearest Panera Bread.  I received a gift card from Jacques, one of my 7th graders, at the end of the school year.  I have my summer reading book, The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers, by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. (I will suggest to all of my middle school parents that they read this one... it is just what I need to read as I obsess about underwear.)  I have my trusty MacBook Pro (obviously), my calendar, in case I want to scribble in dates, and Panera has WiFi. 
I walked in the door after spotting the delivery truck
and used my gift card to buy a low fat black cherry smoothie to start my stake-out.  Merci, Jacques!  C'est délicieux!
Stephani, who waited on me, offered me my very own MyPanera member card (which I promptly registered and discovered I am entitled to a free goodie) and I claimed a table for two with a very comfy cushioned seat with a back rest that faces the window, and I am all set.  I plan to finish this blog entry, work on my August article for the Durham Herald-Sun about friends from here in Durham who went to Arles in June and cooked with Chef Érick, read my book, and stay cool in the 100˚F weather we are enjoying here in the Piedmont as August wears on.  I will treat myself to lunch, people watch, eavesdrop on conversations (the only one I can really hear is a discussion about whether the 4-year old should have a Hello Kitty, Bratz or Justin Bieber birthday party, which makes me grateful for 18 year olds and college), and forget underwear for just a little while.  A good plan, n'est-ce pas?

Bon appétit, to all my fellow empty-nesters. 

If you haven't seen the two TV commercials about kids who think their parents have no life, enjoy!



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