From day one, it seems, we look forward to "the move out." The day when our kids take that last leap into the great unknown, known to us as "not living in my house anymore."
Okay, I wouldn't say from day one, because that first day they're cute and sleep a lot. Sometime around day two, however, they cry and start passing that meconium by the bucketload. It's from this day which I speak.
Before our kids move out, though, there's that other blessed moving day; the day when their friends move out. It's an event that you don't even realize at the time. In fact, it's several days later when you register that you haven't heard Steve's condescending tone, or that irritating yodel his dog makes. You have said goodbye to Blue's Clues and not even noticed.
The quiet is calming.
For us, that day of goodbyes has come and gone three times. It's not so hard; you forget about them. Eventually it's like they were never around at all. Out of sight, out of mind.
But then, they come back. You didn't even know you still had their DVDs tucked away, and yet, there's your youngest, sitting there, transfixed by what she sees on the screen. You sit down next to her and she looks up, hoping you see what she does. She wants to share this wonder with you. And then she's amazed when you are able to mimic Blue's call, that you can sing along with the mailbox. Truth be told, you're a little surprised at yourself for remembering the song verbatim.
It's wonderful to see your child so happy, to see her discovering new things. The world opens up daily to our kids and we're lucky to be on hand to witness.
But those moments pass and, once again, you find yourself in the kitchen, beating your forehead against the refrigerator door, trying to force Pepper's voice out of your skull.
Soon enough they'll all skidoo out of here again, I'm sure. Steve, Blue, Slippery - they'll all be gone. To them I say, "Good riddance."
And I say it in the silly accent of a table spice.