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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Prepping for the Empty Nest, part 3
March 27, 2011 - 4:13pm

Ben left on my birthday for his band's trip to England. I had expected to feel desolate and anxious, and I won't deny that those feelings were (and are) in the mix. But I have also been excited for him, and I've managed not to even think about him for hours (well, minutes) at a time.

Part of the reason for this is that I know he is well chaperoned. When he stays out late with his friends and forgets to call, it is too easy to imagine gruesome scenarios that I would not learn about for hours or even days. On this trip, I know that if I don't hear from one of the chaperones, it means everything is fine.

Just as important, my family and friends have really come through. My husband downloaded several films we have wanted to see, and invested in a bottle of excellent wine. I've been taken out for two birthday dinners, and a friend is hosting an all-woman sleepover party this weekend to celebrate both of our birthdays. Another friend accompanied me on a quick trip to Washington, DC, to see the cherry blossoms. My friend Florrie presented me with a stack of sealed birthday cards. "Open one each day he's gone," she instructed me. "When you come to the end, he'll be back."

I know I can't count on this level of attention every time Ben goes away. In any case, it would be impossible to get any work done if these festivities were to continue. But I know there are a number of wonderful people who have my back, and that means more than I can say.


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