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Mexico Beach, FL   Time: 9:30 am, Temp. 82, Humidity 97%

Yes… to our friends in the Northwest, 97% humidity and it was ONLY 82 degrees when we headed out on our inaugural tandem bike ride this morning!!! Woohoo.  Our new toy (new to us, anyway) and means of exercise on this road trip is a Burley 21-speed tandem bicycle we picked up in South Carolina via a Craigslist ad.  We had some conversation with Kurt and Chelsea about whether we would have ridden a tandem “our first time around” (aka when we were younger and decided we probably wouldn’t have) but we’re both (I think) looking forward to it now that we are older…. and ?????

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina

How serendipitous that lyrics from one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers of all time (James Taylor, born in Carrboro, NC) would run through my head as I was driving away from Elon University after saying good-bye to Sara.

Are you sad?  Will you cry?  How can you be excited for your baby to go ALL THE WAY TO NORTH CAROLINA to college?  What will you do with your empty nest? I’ve been asked all of these questions and more over the past months.

I truly believe that our children are gifts from heaven, sent down to be among our greatest teachers in life.  Our job as parents, I’ve always felt, is to love them, teach them, encourage and nourish them to become confident young adults who are ready to go out into the world and find their place.  How can I be sad when I see that Sara is so excited for this adventure? My goal has always been to foster in my kids a sense of adventure, to be ready to take things on, to try doing things that are outside the box.  Sara is ready to get started on this college adventure and that is to be celebrated.

That time passes so quickly is what is hardest for me to comprehend.  When I think of my kids growing up,  when I conjure up images of them and their friends, and then to reminisce in my mind and feel like those times were just a few years ago,  to think of how the past 21 years has flown by in a literal “blink of an eye” is what makes me teary and have a lump in my throat.

I’ve thought today of that old tv show Empty Nest and while the premise of the show isn’t the same as what we are starting today, I like the theme song to that show:

Life goes on, and so do we,
Just how we do it is no mystery.
One by one, we fill the days,
We find a thousand different ways.

Sometimes the answer can be hard to find,
That’s something I will never be.
I’m always here, for anything you need.

Rain or shine, I’ll be the one,
to share it all as life goes on.
We share it all, as life goes on.

By John Bettis and George Tipton

I’ve been so blessed to share all these years with Chelsea and Sara.  My baby is off to college. Our nest is empty but life, indeed, charges on.  An adventure is in store for all of us, I’m sure.

Asheboro, NC  (by way of Elon and Pittsboro, NC) August 25, 2012