The Price of Freedom

My youngest son left for college last weekend.  As I watched him pull away, his back seat loaded with sheets, pillows and boxes of Ramen, I felt, well.... fucking great!  BOO YAH!!  I did it!! I have raised four children.  Of course there were a few bumps in the road, a few stitches,  a fender bender here or there, one or two arrests, (Wait, do in home incarcerations count?)  a parent teacher conference gone awry, (I will spit on your grave Mrs. Hollister, ) but for the most part we made it out in one piece, if not a little dented.

I spent the weekend cleaning out the pantry.  Goodbye cheddar cheese Pringles, strawberry Fruit Roll Ups, and Frosted Flakes, (which btw I adore.)  This is why I couldn't lose weight.  Now I will have no excuses....other than wine, I mean.  A new me is about to emerge.  In the words of the immortal MLK: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty..FREE AT LAST!!!"

Monday morning, I get up and head over to my JOB (I have to keep capitalizing it as I still can't believe I have one.)  Ahh, how nice to be able to focus on checking people in for massages, and folding my towels without having to worry if there is enough sandwich meat to last till dinner time.  I am standing at my desk,  (the stool is too high and hurts my knees,) and talking to my boss who is explaining to me the difference between deep tissue and therapeutic massage.  My iphone, which I hide under the message book, is vibrating.  I nudge it discreetly with my finger and see my daugher H is calling.

One thing about me, due to past experiences, I ALWAYS answer the phone when one of my kids is calling.  I'm sure she just wants to make sure I am not wallowing in sadness now that my last little bird has fled the nest.
"Excuse me,"  I tell my boss.  "My daughter is calling and I just want to make sure she's ok."
I hit the call button..."Hello?"
"MOOOMMM!"  comes out in a huge, gulping sob, then gibberish.
I smile up at my boss as if to say, "These darn kids, always checking in on their mom."
"Oh, hello H.  I'm at work right now and am having trouble hearing you.  What did you say?"
At this point, the line goes dead.  OMG.  I am picturing an accident, a car jacking, a drive by shooting.  I immediately start to call her back, when the buzzer goes off for Mrs. Springer's detoxifying foot bath.
My boss looks at me and I head on back to give her a towel and empty the footbath water, that now is brown with all the little detox bits that have come out of Mrs. Springer's feet.  I am trying to keep it from sloshing all over my  Rachel Roy dress, and  fighting back a little throw up in  my mouth.

Finally, that lovely task done, I call H back but get no answer.  I start texting her frantically "WHAT?"  "WHAT?"  "WHAT?"  For the love of God, here is Mrs. Springer again, trying to book her next appointment.  My fingers are shaking as I finalize her appointment and scuttle her out the door.
I look down at my phone, hoping there is some word from H so I know at least she is till alive and able to text.  There is a one word response, "STEVEN"

Omg, dude seriously?  Boyfriend problems?  I text her and let her know I will meet with her later, and move on with my day. I brew up a little chamomile tea (I am totally into health and organic stuff now,)   and keep a steady mantra going in my head..."Free at last,"  "Free at last,"....

Right after lunch my phone vibrates again.  This time it is my college boy, probably calling to thank me for all the sacrifices made and lessons I have taught him.

"MOM!   Did you know that dad signed me up for work study?"
Really, the gall of the man, expecting our son to contribute and help out with his tuition.
"Yes, J, that goes towards your tuition."
"Well I just went over there, and they said I need a suit and a resume."
"Well I'm sure if you went in in a collared shirt..."
"NO!  They said SUIT and I don't have a resume.  Plus, how am I supposed to do work study and take four classes?"
Free at last, free at last, free at last, free at last, free at last,...
"The same way everyone else does J.  Now you'll have to excuse me, I have to prepare Mrs. Dixon for her cellulite reduction therapy."
I prepare the room for Mrs. Dixon while chanting my NEW mantra: "Sort of Free at Last"  "Sort of Free at Last,"  "Sort of Free at Last".....


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