I hate cliches. Especially when they’re true. “Life comes at you fast”. Overused but true. “It is what it is”. Irritating but true. “Change is the only constant”. An eye-roller, but true again. Tired sayings like that have been in my head a lot lately, and their messages have proven true again and again. I especially hate that.
I’m living the cliches right now because family life, as I’ve known it for the past 23 years, is going out of business. Like a final liquidation sale, there’s almost nothing left. Last month we moved my oldest daughter to her first adult apartment, in a new city, where she has an adult job. My youngest daughter lives much of the year in another state, where she is a college sophomore. It appears that we, the “core four”, are finished living under one roof together. That feels weird. And sad. And exciting. And like an achievement. Most of all, it’s hugely nostalgic and reminds me of how true those stupid cliches are.
It went so fast, just like they said it would. But it was really sneaky too. Nobody told me about that. The sneakiness is the worst. After years of playing everyday, I didn’t recognize which one of our backyard kickball games was our last. Or which one of our make-believe “Barbie” dramas was the final scene. There was no announcement saying that we suddenly weren’t going to read stories together under the forsythia bush anymore. Or color pictures on the porch. A little warning would have been nice.
But it’s ok. The “lasts” got easier to recognize with age. I knew it was the final season of high school cross country and the closing of the musical. I knew the “kid taxi” was going self-serve the day they passed the driver test. The dance recitals were on the calendar for months. The graduation and college move-in dates loomed. Those warnings were nice to have.
Now, enter a new batch of stupid cliches. It’s time to “chart a new course” for the future. “Turn over a new leaf” as empty-nesters. “Rebalance the scales” of how our time is spent. I admit, I do like these cliches a little better.
I don’t know if I’m wise or just naive to think that this new chapter of family life could be as satisfying as the last. Either way, its a good reminder of the importance of enjoying every minute spent with those we love, and that all of those annoying cliches really are worth paying attention to after all.