I was up again this morning at an ungodly hour. To be honest, I can't be sure that god wasn't up also but if he was it was either because he wants to be first on line at the bagel store because those are, as we all know, the best bagels EVER, or because he hasn't gone to sleep because last night's poker game just finished up. Either way, it was earlier than I would have liked. I have to wake up early for two reasons: first off, I have to make sure that I am done with my morning ritual (shower, dressed, sacrifice a goat) before I start to wake the children up and push them towards getting ready, and second because we have but the one bathroom upstairs and I want to get in and make it uninhabitable well before anyone else runs in, locks the door and starts any hygiene/fashion ritual which would keep me from flossing.
As I showered this morning, I started thinking about when this morning torture would end. I started computing a few things. I figured that when my younger (who can memorize the lyrics to any song she hears twice but cannot remember how to spell the word "family") enters college I will finally have the luxury of sleeping a bit later and being able to wake myself up in the morning and get to work on my own schedule. Doubtless, this will involve waking at exactly the same ungodly hour as I do now, but it will be on my own terms. We could shorten this time by taking our vast holdings, liquidating them, and adding a bathroom so that I have a fortress of smell-i-tude which is all mine, but that would still require that I go from room to room waking and shaking every morning so it would not solve everything.
And please do not speak to me of such other expedients as louder alarm clocks or personal responsibility. The elder can sleep through anything which isn't the subtle buzz of a device indicating that someone, quite possibly a boy, wants to say "wussup" and the younger has inherited the ability to sleep 18 to 19 hours a day and still wake up angry at having been interrupted.
But how long will it be for #2 to shuffle off to SUNY Buffalo or the like so that my mornings can be less about them and more about me? Five and half years.
That's it. 5.5 years. And that isn't very long at all. Let's think about that, shall we?
Five and a half years until my second is in college. We have lived in this house for 13 years. In under 6 years, I will be in the same decade as I am now. Probably at the same job. Possibly driving the same car. Watching the same TV, and knowing that the Mets will have to wait for next year, again. Five and a half years is a blink of an eye. It would be just enough time for me to conceive of and write a poem like Tintern Abbey if it hadn't have been written already. It is enough time for me to go on strange new missions, to explore new worlds and alien planets, and enter syndication. Five years ago, I was doing exactly what I do these days -- wake the kids off and stumble to my job. This isn't like a period of time which will redefine my existence by moving me into another phase. I'll be the same. It isn't much time at all.
And in that short moment my second will be entering college, I expect. Now, maybe we'll enroll her in our own "College of living in the basement" but I doubt it. She and her sister are quite sharp and I expect them both to qualify for admission to some our nations most seemingly-select schools like Harfard or Yail, or maybe even (dare I dream) Ruggers. In five and half years I will have an empty house, with my new, private bathroom mocking my selfishness. I miss them already.
It isn't that long and I shouldn't be shooing them out so quickly. I can't wait till early tomorrow morning so I can tell them I love them while trying to steal their covers away.