A few days ago during a particularly trying day (towards the end of a long summer) I posted a little letter to my husband and myself on my personal Facebook page. Humor always lightens the load and I wanted to capture my thoughts and feelings at that moment. In my exasperation I thought, “It’s hard to believe there will ever be a day when we finally send our baby off to college and I will actually experience a moment of silence, an hour of time to myself and a house that stays clean for more than a Nano-second.”
Those thoughts resulted in the following entry, to the “Future Mike and Julie Hadden” as we have sent our last child off to college and are finally experiencing an empty nest. This is written in the voice of the current Mike and Julie who are living this exhausting life right now. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. They are among my most precious gifts from God. And I love being a mom! But if you are a parent of little ones (and/or a teenager) you may just be able to find a little truth of your own in the words of this letter.
TO THE FUTURE MIKE AND JULIE HADDEN:
Dear Mike and Julie,
While we appreciate the fact that your baby is going off to college and you are sad, please for the love of all that is holy, do not look back and romanticize how wonderful ‘the good old days’ were. Yes those days were fleeting in retrospect but living them seemed like an eternity (trust us). Try to put in perspective that during that time you were exhausted, ended up with at least one if not two kids in your bed almost every single night. That you never slept past 6:30 am, even the weekends. That it took 3 hours to watch a 30 minute TV show because you were constantly interrupted by bickering, bug bites, starvation, broken toys, or boo-boos that it took a magnifying glass to see. Remember that it took 30 minutes to get out the door to run a 5-minute errand and that errand would result in 29 minutes of toddler tunes, 7 minutes of fighting because someone touched someone, two stops on the side of the road to threaten to move car seats, and 10 minutes of crying because we apparently are ‘mean.’ That everyday day was spent cleaning up crumbs, folding the four loads of laundry done daily, and picking up the same “boring” toys you picked up 5 times already that same day.
Remember dear Mike and Julie, that while it is overwhelming how quiet the house is now – that you once locked yourself in the bathroom for just a moment of quiet while someone stuck their fingers under the door and asked when you would be finished “going potty.” And lastly, while you two drown your sorrows in a leisurely dinner out and talk about how you wish you could go back in time, remember us…the ones who ate half our meals crouched over the table cutting someone else’s meat, or under the table cleaning up a spill and think…maybe—just maybe—our baby heading off to college isn’t the hardest thing we’ve ever been through.
The Past Mike and Julie
PS. We’ve attach a picture of the toys we collected from all over the house (for the third time today), so when you two crybabies pull the box of the same toys out of the attic tonight to reminisce, you will keep your emotions in check.