"Hi Natashia, Joe and I want to invite you and Jackson to dinner next week. Are you busy Wednesday evening, around seven?"
"Oh Matty, that would be great. Jack leaves for college Saturday."
"Wow, you must be excited. You'll have the house all to yourself."
"Jackson and I have so many plans. We have been so looking forward to having the house to ourselves. I'm going to make Jack's room into an office. Jackson wanted a weight room, but decided he wouldn't use it very much since we can travel now"
"Where are you two going first? Hawaii, Italy, Paris?"
"We haven't decided yet. Jacskon is going to get some information at the travel agency tomorrow. I'm pushing for Hawaii. I am so excited to finally have the house back to normal, I can't sleep."
"Joe and I went to Italy after the twins left for college. Then, when Dave finally graduated, we went to Paris. Maybe we could all four go to Hawaii, we haven't made it there yet."
"That is a great idea Matty. I'll run it by Jackson and let you know what he thinks on Wednesday. A vacation with only adults sounds perfect."
"Joe is taking me to that new Italian resturant tonight so I need to get ready. I'll call you Monday or Tuesday and remind you about dinner."
"Okay Matty, sounds great. Have fun tonight."
"We will, Joe can still plan the most romantic evenings, even after raising three kids. Talk to you later."
Three months later.
"Natashia, it's Matty. Haven't talked to you for a couple months. I think that dinner right after Jack left for college was the last time. I've called a few times and left messages. Is your answering machine working okay?"
"I'm sorry Matty. I've been busy trying to get Jack's room cleaned out." Natashia says while trying to hold back tears.
"What's wrong Sweety? Are you crying?"
"Oh, Matty." Natashia begins to talk and cry at the same time. "I am so lonely without the kids. I was so looking forward to Jackson and I having the house to ourselves. But nothing seems right. I wake up and the kids aren't here so I try to call them. But they are in school or working and can't talk to me. I have sat in Jack's room for weeks and can't even begin to pack up his things. What if he needs to come home and I don't have his room still here for him? I keep looking at all his pictures from growing up. Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, then he was playing softball. Now he's gone off to college. I found a box of Sally's baby clothes the other day in the attic. They still smelled like her. The little pink and yellow dresses were so tiny. Now she is grown, working in a doctor's office and planning a wedding. Everything is so different now. How could I look forward to having my precious baby's gone? Do you think I'm a terrible mother?"
"Oh Natashia. You are a wonderful mother. You are going through exactly what I went through after Dave left. Remeber I told you we went to Paris, the country of love? Well, I sat in the hotel for four days crying. Joe finally talked me into taking a walk to go site-seeing. I went to the most romantic country on earth with the best husband a woman could ever have, and couldn't even enjoy it."
"Oh no, really?"
"Yes Sweety, really. The only thing that helped me make it was turning my life more to God. I never prayed so much in my life. And you need to get yourself out of the house and keep busy. You can pack his room when your really ready. Don't rush removing the memories. Hey, lets have lunch. Meet me at the diner on Lincoln Street in an hour, okay?"
"That sounds great." Natashia says gratefully. "Thank you for listening to me, I feel better just getting all that out. I'll see you soon, I need to talk to Someone else first."
"See you then, ask God for guidance for me too. I'll be here for you every day if you want. Bye Sweety."
"Bye Matty, I would be so grateful. See you soon."
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