Today I packed my kids up  and kissed them goodbye and sent them to Toronto for eight weeks with their Dad. Of course, I have become accustomed to the separation from my 18-year-old daughter; she left for a faraway university last fall and was only here for a brief visit before starting her summer job back in Canada. It was painful and sad but it was made slightly less horrific because of my son’s continued presence in my nest.

But I have not been apart from him for more than a week his entire life, and no more than a handful of nights since we moved here.

I must confess I thought it would be liberating to have the house and my life to myself for eight weeks, but instead, after he hugged me good-bye and they drove off, I felt a sort of low-level panic at the idea of being separated from him, and totally childless for the first time in almost 19 years.

What will I do with myself? Who will I talk to, other than the cats??? (DING DING DING — crazy cat lady alarm bells ringing!!!) Who will I cook for? Will I even bother cooking? Will I only do laundry once a week? Who will I rush home to? What will I do when he’s not shrieking from the basement for me to come and kill a bug (he has some serious issues with bugs, and they grow ’em big here)?

I am going to be relieved when eight weeks is up, and I am seriously dreading when he goes off to university too.