The girls are away for the week. First time in their lives and the first time in our marriage we haven’t had a kid with us. Yes really, first time! (We started out with my husband’s kid)

I keep telling people they were ready they just didn’t know they were ready. It was a pretty easy send-off, one in tears hating transition and the other acting stoic but frozen inside. It was a blisteringly hot day so the hugs didn’t last too long. When they turned to go, however, our dog, puppy actually, began to howl. She isn’t a howler but she knew her two favorite people were leaving. The scene was so loud it took the pressure off of me. I was willing myself not to cry, after all, “they were ready, I kept telling myself.”

The next few hours with my husband were filled with weird silence. It’s not that we didn’t talk. We had a plan for the day and we were set to move on with what errands we needed to run. It’s just that there were two fewer voices filling the time. Instead of the usual “mom mom mom” or “can I” or “can we” things were just quiet. It was eery. I liked it and was totally uncomfortable with it all at once.

It’s amazing how productive one can be without their kids. I worked full days all week. I went to the grocery store once, only spent $25 and there was a ton of food in the house. I think I over walked the dog. I cleaned the basement, removed all the outgrown items to the transfer station in town, had lunch with a friend to celebrate her birthday, and even went shopping. I was able to make my two beauty appointments without stressing out while sitting there in the treatment. My husband and I played tennis, hit some golf balls and managed two dinners out on the water with friends on two beautiful nights. It was heaven, but the silence is haunting me.

I work from home, so the summer days are filled with kids in and out and those are my “coffee breaks” per se. So around 9 am when sports practice is over and 11:30 am when another practice starts, then again at 1 pm and 3:30 pm it’s recognizably silent and the silence chances me equally each day. Is this what college will look like? Is this what my days will be when they enter into their adult lives? Will I find something else to fill that void? For now, I drink an extra cup of coffee and two ice teas rather than my usual water, trying to fill the uncomfortable change with more change.

They were ready. They barely text and haven’t called. Cell service isn’t good and they are on a mission trip helping others but the truth is, they were ready for me to let a little go and able to disconnect for the first time in their lives away. In all the work and all we have been through this is both a complete relief and utter sadness. I love them deeply – they were ready. Perhaps I was the one that was not.

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