Olathe & Southwest Joco

Live, learn and move on: Two days, two kids, two colleges, one mom

Children moving in and out cause a difficult time for mom.
Children moving in and out cause a difficult time for mom. File illustration

The lyrics rolled around in my head like the tires of the car I was driving: “Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Over and over again. I turned on an audio book to try and battle the earworm. I used to be immune to them, I used to brag about it and devilishly (and jerkily) start them in other people.

“It’s a small world after all…”

“Oh, Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey!”

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…”

Now that I get lyrics on a loop in my brain, I’ve seen the error of my ways. I’m not sure how I stopped being immune to this sticky song syndrome.

I can confirm that being immune and not immune coincided with me leaving the life of a pure stay-at-home-mom and starting to work for a paycheck. Make of that what you will. For my part, I will apologize to all the people who I have infected with a lyric loop.

I’m sorry. Live and learn and move on, right?

As I drove, the audio book did help take the lyrics away, but as the story unfolded, each chapter ending and another starting made me think about the personal meaning of those lyrics and why I was on the road in the first place.

“…every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…”

The new beginning was the start of summer break, the end was the school year that had begun last August for my two college student kids. Two days, two kids, two different colleges, one mom.

Time is weird. It seems like a long time ago yesterday that I had dropped them at school. We had played Tetris with their belongings in the back of the minivan, then lugged them to empty rooms that smelled like fresh paint, disinfectant and the ghosts of former students.

When they gave me a signal that only this mama could hear, I kissed them, told them to be kind, use their brains, that I was proud of them, and I left.

A long time ago yesterday passed and here I was doing the moves in reverse. One of them will be a senior next year, the other a junior.

When August rolls around one will be moving into an apartment, which means that he may stay at our house, but in all likelihood, this summer is the last he will live here. His new beginning starts when he moves into his apartment, the other beginning’s end will be me clearing the summer debris field from his room. Maybe painting it, but leaving a bed, he has to know that he’s always welcome and has a place if he needs it.

If I was a betting mom, I would say that the other kid will move home after graduation, work her career starter job and attend grad school while she does. Sure, she’ll live with us for a while, but that is a very busy schedule, we won’t see her much. Her room won’t change, but she will have her new beginning.

“…every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…”

I’ll have a new beginning in August, too, and I can’t help but realize the other beginning’s end: 23 years of these two growing up. Their taxiing and troubleshooting; their heartbreaks and challenges.

I’m ready for our family’s new beginning and for the new beginning that comes with it for me, too. I’m ready to cherish the entire childhood of memories created by these two, and I’m ready to see what their new beginnings bring them.

But being ready doesn’t stop my heart from overflowing into my eyes when I think about all of it.

Susan is a Kansas City based writer and podcaster. To listen to the women’s history based podcasts that she co-hosts, or to read more of her work visit www.thehistorychicks.com or www.susanvollenweider.com. Song referenced is “Closing Time” by Semisonic

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