My husband and I are on the cusp of being empty nesters. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that we’re practically giddy with anticipation. We joke about how we’ll cope. …

Will we recognize our house when we wake to find it in the same condition in the morning as it was when we went to bed? Will we miss the pack of teenaged elves that magically descend upon our home between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., raiding the contents of the refrigerator and strewing the kitchen countertops with half-empty soda cans, Pop Tart foils and Easy Mac wrappers?

Will my husband feel suddenly rich when he no longer has to constantly 
replace his missing bedroom shoes, socks and razors?

How brazen will it feel for me to leave my cellphone charger out in plain sight rather than hiding it in the depths of my lingerie drawer to prevent it from being “borrowed”?

How much time will be saved when I can simply vacuum under my son’s bed without first sweeping out a pile of garbage includingfilled with scratched CDs, discarded backpacks, a pizza box and last year’s overpriced T-shirts?

As parents, won’t we feel smug when he is finally doing his own laundry? Cleaning out his cat’s litter box? Will we achieve a sense of satisfaction knowing he is finding out “what it’s really like,” although I am fairly certain that if my own parents were still alive, they’d swear that at 51 years old, I still haven’t learned that either.

On the other hand, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a little blue. Twenty-one years of watching my boy grow up have passed by in an instant. If letting go is supposed to be a long and gradual process, how did this moment get here so quickly? This is not to say, I wouldn’t have liked to fast forward through some of those angst-ridden teen years or linger for a few moments over the smell of baby powder or the sight of a toy box filled with plastic dinosaurs, Power Ranger toys and “Good Night Moon.”

Like all families, we’ve had our difficult moments.…

Like the time he says we kidnapped him and forced him on a cross-country road trip through the Midwest, or when, on the same trip, I glanced longingly at the train station outside our hotel room and fantasized about sending his butt home.

Or when he wore black T-shirts and shaggy hair for what seemed like 10 years.

Or when I embarrassed him in high school by shouting goodbyes at him from the car when I dropped him off and he refused to say goodbye to his mom like a proper young man.

When he has lamented his pitiful living conditions, I’ve told him if we made it too comfortable at home, he would never want to leave and discover his own life. The other night, while packing up the contents of his room, he muttered something about “never coming back.” At first, this hurt my feelings, then I realized that except for a weekend here or there, it’s probably true.

Still, his dad and I are excited that he’s ready for this next transition towards adulthood. He is not being pushed out of the nest prematurely nor trying to fly when his wings aren’t strong enough. We’re so proud of all he has done to get himself to this point and for the person he is becoming.

And while I’m sure he’d prefer to remain anonymous, as a proud mom I can’t help but exclaim in a voice loud enough for the world to hear — “Congratulations, Brennen Boswell! I love you. You make your mama proud!”

Susan Boswell is a Greensboro-based mom, writer and interior designer. Check out her blogs at www.skirt.com/susan-boswell.

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