On the first day of 1985, I remember my mother saying to me, “This is going to be a big decade for you.” I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, because, like
all most young people, I couldn’t fathom looking forward ten years. Heck, looking ahead the two years to college graduation felt like long-term planning. But she was right. There are those times in our lives when the changes come fast and furious and those times when life settles into a comfortable routine.
I turned 20 in 1985—the Anne and Susan show had just begun and I hadn’t yet met hubby. I was a college student whose biggest concerns were getting a date for the semi-formal and if I’d get into Econ 201 next semester. Fast forward ten years and I was married with 3 year-old-twins and pregnant with a third son. I had lived in New York City for almost five years and had recently moved to a strange city once again, this time to Philadelphia. I felt like I had been picked up by a tornado, spun around and dropped into a new life—a few times. But then the new became the familiar and my life as a mom rolled on with only the routine ups and downs.
Based on the news of the last week or so, I think my sixth decade on this earth is going to be a another time for big transitions. I got a call from Peter, the youngest, telling us he found a summer internship. (Hooray! Gainful employment!) In South Carolina. Because he’s a junior, and this is his last summer before graduation, it’s very likely he’ll never live at home again. (Lose a son, gain a craft room. Look on the bright side!) Trust me, going away to college is just a sleep-away life for your kids; they still come home for holidays and breaks and there is that umbilical line directly into your bank account. When your kid fills out the change of address forms, then you know the nest is truly emptying.
Days later, Gordon, the engineer son who has lived at home since college graduation (and who I swore would always choose to live in the Philly area) was offered a job at a sexy, high-profile tech firm out West. Because he travels so much for work and we travel so much for, well, because we can now, our living arrangement has worked out beautifully. We each have our space and I have an in-house dog-sitter. (And he can change light bulbs without a step-stool! I’m really going to miss that service when he goes.) Another change of address form in my life.
Finally, just this weekend, we learned that Jack, the Air Force pilot, is going to be stationed less than an hour away from home! And that he may well be here within weeks, girlfriend and dog in tow. After almost 7 years of him living halfway, or more, across the country, not making it home for so many Thanksgivings, it’s going to be strange, but wonderful, to have him around the Sunday dinner table. It’s entirely possible that one twin would move West just as the other is coming back East. God certainly has a sense of humor, huh?
As my men weigh their opportunities, their futures, there are two young women whose futures are tied up in theirs. In my next decade, I see myself moving from mother of college students and carefree twenty-somethings to mother-emeritus, mother-of-the-groom, and yes, maybe even grandmother. (Call me MeMaw, please.) Another tornado dropping me into uncharted territory. But as I think about past changes and future possibilities, I look at those two young women, poised on the brink of their own whirlwind, and I remember my mother in 1985. “This is going to be a big decade for you”.