Tuesday, August 24, 2021


I dropped Oliver off at Small Liberal Arts College on Saturday.

Friday night we made our pizza Margheritas and Oliver invited some friends over (we had a friend of our own come down as well, which is a long story involving a wedding and a baseball game) and we made a party of it. It’s nice to have one last hurrah before heading out.

We drove down to SLAC with our usual van full of stuff, as we are wont to do. It’s a nice drive, really, except for the construction detours that are never as marked as they ought to be, but with GPS that’s not the issue it once was. It’s good to be able to spend time with your kids, and a long car ride is just an excuse for good conversation.

We loaded up his dorm room as his roommate was doing the same, then retrieved yet more stuff from the storage unit they had rented over the summer and squeezed that into the room as well. Once you set up a college dorm room, the TARDIS begins to make a lot more sense.

And then I was off – back on the road to Our Little Town, on my own in an empty van, with one fewer person at the other end to greet me.

Lauren leaves for Main Campus University next week and we will repeat the process then, including another pizza fest if all goes well, and after that it will just be me and Kim, empty nesters for real this time after the test run of 2019-2020.

We went to our last 4H meeting not long before Oliver had to leave – a picnic in one of the city parks, outdoors and socially distanced as befits an event in the new age of the Delta variant. It was a nice time. We got to see some of the people we’ve been in the club with over the last 13 years or so, and both Kim and I got plaques as thank yous for all the various volunteer activities we’ve put in over that time. I spent a lot of time at the food booths of the Cat Show and Rabbit Show, for example. It’s a nice plaque. I’ll have to put mine somewhere I can see it.

But both Lauren and Oliver have aged out of the 4H now, and neither Kim nor I plan to stay around as leaders. It was a good run. It’s time to step aside.

Lauren has her yearbook now – there was some kind of printing delay so they had to pick them up long after graduation – and the School District sent us a check for the remaining balance in her lunch account, which has been sitting there since June 2019, since she didn’t use it at all while she was abroad and nobody needed it last year. It turns out that it’s cheaper and easier just to give everyone lunches than to try to monitor who paid and who didn’t. So that door has gracefully shut and next month, for the first September since 2004, we will have no kids attending public schools here in Our Little Town.

We were very happy with the schools here – they did a good job of both educating our kids and treating them well, which is saying something given the curve balls we threw at them occasionally. But if you’re willing to work with people they’re usually willing to work with you, and so it turned out.

Sometime in September there will be a mass culling of Facebook group pages from my account, as there are a lot of announcements I no longer need to see.

Every time is a time of transitions, but this year is more so than most. There are more transitions coming down the pike, in fact, but I will get to them when they arrive.

It’s been quite a time here in Our Little Town.

We press on.


Ewan said...

You're roughly 4 years ahead of us in this process: one off at his sophomore year, but one just entering 8th grade. It was *odd* a fortnight ago having dropped off the first and with the second at a camp. I'm glad that we like our kids, and they seem to like us back; as you note, though, one of the biggest gifts is room and freedom.

And a safe place to which to return as needed. May that not be often, but not never either.

David said...

My dad once told me that at some point your job as a parent changes from being the center of their lives to being a home base - a place where they can return and find refuge or comfort or simply a good meal among those who love them.

We prepare them for the world and watch them fly off - that's parenting done right. And if we've done it right, they'll come back to share stories and time.

Enjoy the next four years! It goes by faster than I ever thought it would.