reality bites

Not two days after Ben came home, we were kneeling for family prayer when Ben commented, “Wow, Hans’ bed is really comfortable.”

“It’s a piece of memory foam over the mattress.” I explained. “I can pick some up for you at Costco. It doesn’t cost much.”

“Oh, don’t bother,” he replied, “I probably won’t live at home ever again anyway.”

If you’re a woman and a mother, reading that made your heart hurt. If you’re a man, you probably laughed out loud. I don’t mean to be sexist, but those reactions have been pretty distinct every time I tell this story. It’s much like when we brought home our pet bunny– female: “oh, how cute!” male: “How delicious!”

As for me, I burst into tears which welled up often over the next few days. My boy, my oldest son, had just returned after two painful years of absence and he was never going to live at home again.

Unarguably, Ben’s timing was poor; sadly, his words ring of truth. We’ll have him home for just five short weeks before he moves down to BYU for Spring Term, he’ll be back again for six weeks this summer, then move back to BYU again and life… Erik suggested a summer internship for Ben and I was bit fierce insisting, “We have six weeks; we are going to Lake Powell and San Diego and spending every minute we can with him.”

All the old ladies at the grocery store were right– they grow up too fast and a good mother works herself out of a job. I’m not good at moving on; I don’t want my children to leave. And yet I know I must. Why have I spent all these years teaching them to do laundry and dishes, be nice and do well in school if not to be independent?

Ben’s been a little more careful with my feelings since. We’ve had a great time talking, cleaning the pantry, discussing books and ideas and faith.  Which gives me some hope they’ll come back when they are hungry or need a babysitter or just to throw pumpkins off the roof. We can stand in the kitchen and talk, until life calls them in different directions.

Still, I should have pushed the University of Utah. Great school, lots of scholarships, commute from home.

Or I should have had more babies. Or both.

April 12, 2013



  1. Rachelle

    April 11, 2013

    Here here! I agree with every.single.word. Sigh.

  2. Tracy

    April 11, 2013

    Babies! Heck Halle Berry is hot, 46 and now pregnant. I want more babies. xoxo

  3. Tasha

    April 12, 2013

    I’m already dreading the day my baby Luke leaves for his mission. My mom says that in some ways it is easier when your kids get married, because you know they have someone else who loves them just as much as a parent.

    But both my Mom and I miss the days when we ask lived at home. I like to think that in heaven, we’ll get to have those again.

  4. Alison

    April 12, 2013

    Oof, that did make my head hurt. My boys are still small and needing their Mama, so I’m hanging onto their sticky, small and hot hands for a while longer.

  5. Chris Taney

    April 12, 2013

    I know plenty of BYU students that hit the road on occasional weekends to come on home. The new Frontrunner makes the trip faster than ever. Just an hour from Provo to Farmington. Little bit more to Ogden. He can be picked up anywhere along the way. Time isn’t a problem. Give him enough incentives and he’ll be back as often as you like. 😉

    Incentives include:
    Place to do laundry,
    Pantry to go shopping in (can’t tell you the number of my roommates that did this)
    Family dinner he can invite friends to (I went to a friend’s home in Springville religiously for Sunday dinner throughout my undergrad).
    Any activity that can include friends for that matter.

    Reality bites yes, but the system can ALWAYS be manipulated. Just speak his language (friends, girls, and opportunities) and you’ll see him often enough!


  6. Claudia

    April 13, 2013


  7. Anne Marie

    April 13, 2013

    In the words of Dumbledore, “There is no shame in what you are feeling…On the contrary, the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.” (bk.5)

    You have a soul that feels deeply. That is a beautiful gift to the world, but it means that all changes cause you incredible pain because you love so deeply and nurture so naturally. I can only imagine what it’s like to have little ones grow up and truly leave to not come back for good ever again. My oldest has less than 2 1/2 years before heading to BYU (which is more than 1200 miles away from us), and my soul is already grieving. Heck, I’m still mourning the fact that I had to wean my boys (and that was over four years ago!). Love to you.

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