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Half Empty or Half Full? by Kelly Montgomery

We recently dropped off our two boys at Butler University, where Egan returns for his junior year and Max begins to navigate his first year away from home.

Back here, things seem a little empty right now. The foyer is missing its usual collection of what always seemed like dozens of very large shoes. Two of our four bedrooms are looking stripped-down, if not exactly clean. (Picture the Whoville houses after the Grinch’s visit on Christmas eve). The basement is no longer full of boys and their games and their mess and their noise. The calendar has empty spaces that used to be occupied with basketball games and volleyball games and practices and tournaments. And the table looks a bit too spacious with only 3 diners instead of the usual 5. I think we’re going to have to remove the leaf. Even the pile of laundry waiting to be folded looks disturbingly small. Weird.

Mom and boys

And yet, I discovered something interesting yesterday in the kitchen. The refrigerator was FULL! The pantry too! We have long struggled with keeping enough food in the house for our growing young men and their friends. “But I just went to the store!!” was my usual response to their constant pleas of “There’s nothing to eat!” Now, suddenly, I’m beginning to see some possibilities here. I could try more new recipes, splurge on premium ingredients, replace quantity with quality. I could fill the shelves with the finest produce, cheeses, meats, and wine! I could try some new things from Marcel’s Market. This is an upside I hadn’t considered.

We are so grateful to have our youngest, Lily, at home with us for just a while longer. For her, this year will be full of all the excitement and challenge of her first year of high school at Glenbard West. Full of dances and softball, auditions and homework, critical wardrobe decisions and teenage girl drama. But PLEASE, no boys. I don’t know if any of us are ready for that yet.

According to experts (friends and coworkers who have already been through it), this empty-ish feeling will soon pass and everything will feel normal again. And the boys will come home for holidays and even summers, if we’re lucky. Everything will fill up again. Except the fridge and the cabinets and the pantry, which we will struggle to keep stocked once again.

And that will be just fine with us.

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