We pick our youngest up at the train station Saturday — back from his first term at college — and we can’t wait. It’s been way too quiet around here, though I secretly don’t miss the crazy high school sports schedule.
Even when I had three kids under age 3, I never understood the term “stay at home mom” — for about two years I didn’t earn a paycheck — but I sure never stayed home! We moved to Reno with a nine-month old … and I jumped into the mom thing … playgroup, babysitting coops the works … Just before our big guy turned two, we learned we’d have twins … and our big guy was 2 1/2 when they were born. That was a nutsy summer. It also put a kibosh on working full time … For awhile, I wasn’t sure I’d ever have brain cells again!
Financially, putting three kids into daycare just didn’t make sense. It would have been easier in some ways — but I didn’t want the stress, and luckily my terrific spouse agreed.
So I started writing the Kidding Around for the Reno Gazette-Journal. It was a bi-weekly column on fun, often free, family activities, family issues and education. Northern Nevada is a terrific family-friendly place with tons to do — and honestly I did very little research the first two years I wrote the column … I simply relayed the fun things we were doing anyway or things we’d already done — Tahoe, hiking with babies, where the best pools were, which parks were worth the drive, etc. My kids share my love of adventure — planes, trains, automobiles, fish, skateboarding, skiing, hiking, on and on. Writing the column encouraged us to explore even more.
Now as our youngest (one-minute younger than his twin sister) comes home … I’ve been thinking about the column I wrote when the twins were standing in line on the first day of first grade. They were excited and confident. Smiling they waved — “Bye Mom” and marched off. Several other moms were doing the happy dance (FREE AT LAST!!!) Me? Holding back tears. My babies were ready. I knew it and I was glad … but I also knew it was the end of a very, very special phase in my life.
Raising kids who are eager to march off into the future, ready for adventure is what we worked so hard for, and it means we did a great job. We look at the photos and realize we wouldn’t change much of what we did. Now we have three young adults in three different colleges in three different states — arriving Dec. 10, Dec. 17 and Dec. 22 I am so glad they will be home soon — and that they still want to come home! No regrets … whatever else comes our way.