Boy#4 is graduating.
This trip is an odd combination of finality and unreality: It is quite certainly the final time we will sit in the fieldhouse and cheer as one of our Boys walks across the stage to fistbump the president and receive his diploma. It probably is the last student apartment we will clean out (and marvel at how much STUFF can accumulate in a few short months). It's the end of saying "We need to eat at Vitek's the next time we're down here," and never eating at Vitek's.
But it's unreal to think that the beaming little boy in today's picture is now a full-fledged college graduate, who has signed a contract to work for an actual corporation earning an actual paycheck in U.S. dollars. And while getting the final child off of our family plan work benefits certainly gives Husband and me the giddy expectation that we will be swimming around in extra cash like Scrooge McDuck in his vault, it's...unreal.
Four will come back to the House on the Corner for a break before he starts his real-life job. By the end of that break he will be thoroughly tired of his parents, with their too-loud television and insistence that he ignore texts during meals. He'll be glad to get back in his car and head off to his new life as an official grown-up.
When that happens I'll be pretending that I'm grown-up, too, and wave cheerily as he drives away. I know how this goes--I've done it many, many times before. This time, though, I won't be able to fool myself that my kid is just going back to college, and that home is still in the House on the Corner.
This is the final Boy, and the nest will now be truly empty.