Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Empty Nesters

Bump's Uncle Fred and Aunt Barbara drove down from Baltimore today to see Lumpyhead, and took us all to lunch.

I still think of their boys as Bump's 8- and 10-year-old cousins, and am always shocked when I see these young men looking ready to prowl for chicks and drink from a beer bong. They're handsome and polite, bright and talented, self-assured and healthy - all the things I want for Lumpyhead some day.

Fred and Barbara's youngest son is away for the weekend, visiting a college he may attend in the fall. Their oldest is a sophomore at Vassar, so Fred and Barbara are empty-nesters this weekend.

Fred and Barbara fawn over Lumpyhead, gushing over his giggles, his new teeth, his baby skin. It makes me wonder if when Lumpyhead goes off to college, will I long to have him back at this age? Barbara remarked over lunch that their lives will soon be returning to the lives we just left behind. They will no longer wait up worrying about the boys making curfew. Their weekends will no longer be crammed full of soccer games and the spring musical and Scout camp.

While I doubt Fred and Barbara are going to start filling their evenings with poker games, tequila shots and Grand Theft Auto, Barbara's point is still valid. They're leaving parenthood behind just as we're running full speed into parenthood's brick wall.

We had a nice lunch at an unstuffy restaurant that's surprisingly kid-friendly. Bump and I went there a lot before Lumpyhead was born. Fred and Barbara were happy to hold Lumpyhead and help keep him quiet while Bump and I ate.

I know the time is coming when Lumpyhead will no longer need us. I know that moment is coming far too fast. While I miss our old lifestyle - back when we got plenty of sleep and ate out a lot and long weekends meant a quick trip somewhere - our new one has rewards of a different nature.

Lumpyhead babbles now. He'll be crawling soon. He smiles when he sees us.

Someday, he'll leave for college and Bump and I will wonder how to fill our time.

Before then, we'll tackle toilet training and learning to drive and rebellion and cute girls and, and, and. . .

. . . and I will enjoy every minute. I swear. Even when I'm sleep-deprived and almost out of patience and feeling completely clueless.

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