In sickness and in growth

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I am what is known in the “parents of grown children” lingo as a “semi empty nester.”

This means our children (even at 40 they will still be our “children”) commute to work and university but technically live at home.

I say “technically” because I am absolutely certain my friend, with a son living an hour away on campus, sees her child more than I see BoyWonder on any given week.

Girlwonder, for her part, is absolutely certain that he has actually moved out and “just isn’t telling us yet.” We laugh but some weeks I wonder.

The thing is I’m fine with it. He has been a responsible person since birth and could probably have managed to live on his own at around age 11 (8 if we are being honest) if the law would have allowed.

I’m glad it didn’t because we just love him here, but the truth is, the kid turned out great so far (knock wood!). I am now nervously checking over my shoulder for fear I’ve jinxed it, and he’s going to pop up on a wanted poster before I’ve finished typing this sentence.

In truth, we just pray he continues to make good choices and are glad he’s having fun and living his life. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago we were 20 years old. I think that was just last year right?

Respect

What I do ask as we enter this phase of “grown but not quite flown” children is that they treat us with the same respect you would anyone you love and live with. Even hotels require a check in.

I need to know if you are coming home late. I am not obsessive about it. I figure if they were living on campus, I wouldn’t know where they were every minute of the day.

I do, however, ask for a proof-of-life check in every once in a blue moon. Otherwise, I just let them be free to be responsible young adults and live, work and play.

Eighteen and 20 can be wonderful ages of concerts and late night coffee shops, study groups and games. I’m glad they enjoy hanging out on campus and getting out and about in the world.

Germs

What I do not appreciate is that they are still bringing all the germs back home to me. The perk of grown kids should be not getting the back-to-school petri dish o’ germs.

Within one week of the Wonderkids starting college, everything hurt and I was sure I was dying. This is not OK. I don’t even have young children.

I should not have the back-to-school crud. Even my tongue hurt.

I demand a recount. I did not sign up for this.

Look, I’m a laid back “spread your wings and fly” mom. I don’t expect the universe to repay my amazing level of chill with the chills!

Social

With Mr. Wonder working late and the children out and about on the weekend, I was forced to turn to social media for all my “Please Pity Me” needs. My fans and friends did not disappoint.

I just love them for their ability to respond to my dramatic pleas for attention. Being on my deathbed did have perks.

Girlwonder, still an amazing child, cleaned the house for me while I was fighting the good fight against the illness. It’s odd when the roles expand, and the child is no longer technically a child.

“Hey mom, before you go toward the light could you tell me where we keep the dishwasher detergent now?”

Everyone’s a comedian. No matter how I age, I would like the record to reflect that I am a grown woman with grown children of my own and I still felt safer once my own mother checked the box that acknowledged she knew I was complaining of being ill on social media.

All my flu-borne drama aside, I felt like once my mom knew I was sick, even from 20 miles away, I probably wouldn’t die.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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