The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

The title of this post does not refer to the Christmas song, but to a familiar ad campaign in which parents are merrily buying their children school supplies, delighted that another endless summer is coming to an end. This summer I am facing the big boy version of that experience as we ready our two younger sons to go to college. Here is Son #2's pile of stuff:

Son #2 is the old pro. This is his third trip back to Boston, and he is more representative of the Stuff it All in a Bag School of Packing. Here are Son #3's accoutrements:

Son #3 was born with one foot out the door, so it's no surprise that he's been packed for days now. But that doesn't make it any easier to say good-bye to two of them. Here is what I tell myself: No morning lunches to pack. No more waiting up on those nights we want to sleep. (And no more waiting them out on those nights we don't.) Weekends away. Romantic dinners for two. A much smaller shopping bill. Ditto electricity and credit card. The second car back in the driveway. A house for grown-ups, at last. It's all about roots and wings, I tell myself. And then I whisper a prayer: may the roots hold. And may the wings bring them back soon.