The Cambrian

Lady Tie Di: Ah, the infinite joy - er, pain - no! joy - of kids

My older son just turned 23 yesterday. I remember clearly when he was a junior in high school I started mourning his imminent departure from the nest. Of course, I bawled my eyes out when he went to kindergarten, too. But, I was not alone in these emotions. Other moms shared the woe.

Click to now-time. Sharing my younger son’s escapades with a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago, she reminded me, “They do these stupid and mean things so it’s easier to see them leave home when the time comes.” Ah, thank you for reminding me.

Still, it’s “OH, only ONE-AND-A-HALF YEARS TO GO!” followed closely by “Ohhhhhhh, ONLY one-and-a-half years to go…sniff.”

Nobody told me that on top of gray hair, bulging neck veins and high blood pressure, parenting was going to make me schizophrenic as well.

Someone offered me an adorable dog to adopt the other day, “perfect for you in every way!” I’m sure he is. Almost immediately after that, someone approached me about adopting this stray kitten that had shown up soaking from the rain. All very tempting, but no thank you.

You see, I’m about to be footloose and fancy free, as I told my commitment-phobic man friend in L.A. “But my lack of commitment seems a little more well-founded.” OK, I’ll leave that subject alone. HOWEVER, I am looking at this next two years as being my last era of “real” mom-ness.

Yes, of course I’ll always be mom and continue to send sporadic checks in the mail and nose into their business “because I love them and care” and will be helpful in any way I can be. But — you parents know what I mean.

To the childless out there, let me explain. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re independent beings capable of doing things for themselves like make breakfast and lunch and important phone calls. But, they have to be taught these skills, sometimes prodded, coaxed and threatened into performing these tasks. Yes, they suffer the consequences of not doing them, BUT Mom is going to worry herself to death if they don’t. When they don’t. He’s learned he’ll have to wear smelly T-shirts if he doesn’t do his laundry. And lessons like that.

I still sign papers, pay bills, buy double groceries, have to get the right flavor, consider his sports schedule for planning activities, which weekend does he go to his dad’s, why isn’t he home yet and a myriad of other consternations and scripts I have to read daily. And it takes a long time to get over that. How old did I say Miles was?

Zachary is now receiving letters from colleges and calls from football coaches from exotic places like Redlands. SAT tests, community service projects, overall grades are getting more important to us all by the second.

Yes, I’m not taking on any more long-term commitments. I wish to suffer the “true” empty nest when it comes. My two 18-year old cats may fool me and hang on another three or four years but maybe that’s their job. They’ll sense I’ll need some transitional help. Who am I to argue?

Hmmmph. June 2011 is going to be here sooner than I think, isn’t it?

E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at, or visit her Web site at