Before they were teens.

Before they were teens.

My teenagers.

They make me crazy. To the point that I just can’t take it any more.

Then I freak out that they’re not going to be under my roof much longer. In two years, the oldest will be getting ready to go to college. And I miss them already.

A little erratic, right?

Take this morning. My first thought, when I was woken up by the vibration of my alarm clock sitting uncomfortably on my wrist, was, “How many more mornings do I have left to get up at 5:30?”

And I wasn’t talking in the short-term. I was thinking really, how many more mornings left until my oldest, my almost sixteen year-old son, goes off to college so I don’t have to get up at 5:30 am.

(I know I don’t have to get up with him. But I want to. It’s some weird mother-thing, wanting him to start the day off with a hot meal. Brain food and all of that. I know I bitch and moan about it. But there’s no way I could lay in bed upstairs while he puttered around downstairs getting ready to start his day.)

I lay in my bed for 30 seconds, listening to my husband snore ever so quietly. (Actually, it was more like a purr.) He was oblivious as usual. Then I forced myself up and at ‘em, felt around for my pajama pants and my glasses and left the room.

And as I made my way downstairs, I remembered that today was Pancake Thursday. A weekly tradition in our house. Which meant that it was almost the weekend. And that I didn’t have to wake up early again until Monday.

And I felt better.

An hour later, with one cup of coffee in me and the sun beginning to rise, I watched my son walk down the block to catch his bus to high school. And I got teary thinking about how soon it’s going to be when he leaves for college. Milestones, like him getting his driver’s permit or flying alone on an airplane for the first time, make me emotionally whacked.

It was almost more than I could take. My baby boy. My almost six foot first born. Leaving me. Forever. Eventually.

And I needed an extra cup of coffee.

I get these conflicting emotions often these days.

On the one hand, ready to strangle punish one of my kids because they won’t stop making that noise. Or taunting their sibling in a way only they can. (I have an older brother. I understand these things.)

Then, on the other hand, wanting to trap them in my arms, engulfing them in my love and never letting them go. (Especially when they tell me how much they appreciate their breakfast, a trip to the mall or yes, even having a late night conversation with them when it is way past my bedtime.)

Because I can almost see a future where Hubs and I won’t have children in the house. A really near future where our two oldest, my son and his daughter, will be off at college and it will just be the two of us alone in the house with the youngest.

Recently, I’ve been seeing this future almost daily, since my son took the PSAT earlier in the year. He’s been getting letters and brochures from colleges imploring him to consider their schools and enticing him to log on to their web sites and, in the words of one school, “… discover what life could truly be like on our academically invigorating, close-knit campus with the world at your feet.”

Gaahhh.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what my conflicting emotions are. They’re going to grow up. They’re going to go away to college and start living the next phase of their lives.

And I really want that for them.

I just wonder how late I’ll sleep.

Milk chocolate and butterscotch chip pancakes. A family specialty.

Milk chocolate and butterscotch chip pancakes. A family specialty.