It hits me first thing every the morning. The house is so quiet. There's no hustle and bustle, just quiet steps down well worn paths.
The last kid left for college last weekend. We dropped her off on Saturday, said our goodbyes on Sunday and spent the week in the empty nest.
I note the coincidence that Major League Baseball teams are struggling to work into the MLB Playoff with just over a month to go in the regular season. Teams work hard to make it and experience a tremendous sense of loss when they don't.
Getting your kid into college is a lot like making the playoffs. It's taken a lot of hard work. This one is our third. Her two older siblings also made a successful run into the post season graduating with degrees that will help them the rest of their lives. More importantly, and more hopefully, those degrees will help more and more as their parents are able to help less and less.
So now, the last child begins her playoff run. She'll be fine. She's marvelously organized, strong academically and clearly focused. We have great expectations and greater hopes.
But for her mother and I, every day at work, every night for dinner, every evening for television, and especially every morning waking up, there's just she and me.
We're okay. We've always been crazy in love. That love was multiplied by our children and later, by our children's own families. We've relished the luxury of that love for three decades now. It's thrilled us beyond measure. It's forged in each of us a love that crushes mountains into dust, drains swamps full of alligators and effortlessly solves world hunger.
Yet, now that's all we have and I can't say we're not a bit sad.
We can do a lot. We have blessing beyond measure. We have friends, work, church, the house, outside activities. We have, for now, our health. We love being grandparents. We can pinch hit for mom and dad, act as coaches, trusted advisers, financial supporters.
We'll enjoy this playoff run. We'll cheer fanatically from the owner's box. And then, when it's over, we can still run a great organization. We can fill the stands and give away bobble-heads. We can play some great games, knock walk-off homers, turn triple-plays and pull out late inning rallies.
But we're never, ever going back to the playoffs.