I made sure to call my husband today from work.
“How are you?” I asked, checking in.
“I’m alright,” he replied. “I miss them.”
Today was the first day of school for our children. My husband, who has been a stay-at-home dad for four years, experienced pre-empty nest syndrome as the kids climbed on the bus, I got into my car and he reluctantly returned to the house alone. A quiet house. A calm house.
I miss them.
“Things are changing,” he said last night before bed. We have done our job-to-date as parents, successfully moving our children through the many firsts of their young lives. First steps, first days of kindergarten. We have photographs with which to remember each milestone. Although nine years feels like a lifetime, it also feels like yesterday.
Things are changing.
Our children are older. Although we’ve managed to keep their schedules under control, we anticipate more of everything this year: more homework, more play dates, more after school activities, more independence. My husband is looking into part-time work. He’s been pining for a little more interaction with adults during the day, a luxury much-deserved after having done a terrific job managing the home front full-time. I will be finishing graduate school, but in the meantime will be immersed in the task of completing my thesis.
Sometimes it’s events like back-to-school that make you take a minute to pause and think. Autumn is a time when we notice that things change. The days get colder. The leaves turn colors. Children go back-to-school. In truth change is constant. It’s not a seasonal activity, but something that goes on everyday whether we notice it or not. Change is always happening.
In the end, everything goes on as it should. The bus comes on time, the photographs sit waiting to be put in the scrapbook and if you listen carefully the house in its silence holds still the memories of days past and the hopes and dreams of years to come.