My husband and I have four children between us, and each of these children in turn graduated from high school and a few months later, after the long and seemingly endless summer was over, left for college. How well I remember those irritating few months post high school and before college. They were all so frustrating, demonstrating a variety of erratic behaviors: sullen, moody, argumentative, agitated, lazy, etc. I grew so tired of each of them during those summers, thinking that they'd be gone none too soon and mentally commenting to myself "good riddance--don't let the door hit you on the way out". I swear there is some obnoxious behavior hormone triggered in children who are about to leave the nest, insuring that our mutual parting is seen as a good and necessary thing. Annoying your parents really is the best guarantee that you can saunter off to college with your head held high! I think my hip is ready to graduate as well, I am very tired of the aching and soreness (can't really call it pain, but it is constant and wearying) and while continuing to be mildly freaked out at the prospect of upcoming hip replacement surgery, I am ready to take the plunge. Today was my pre-op appointment with a blood draw, swabs to test for staph infections, referral for an EKG, instructions for pre and post-surgery. The nurse was young and cheerful, and handed me a notebook full of materials to read at home at my leisure. I perused some of them this afternoon, catching my breath at some of the handouts: "Preventing DVTs", "Risks of Surgical Infection", "MRSA", etc. It makes it all sound really, really serious and kind of scary! Now it's the march towards surgery day and, like my kiddos, I'll be saying "adios" to this bad hip with the fervent hope for a speedy and relatively pain-free recovery, and the knowledge that next year should be a far less limited world--travel, here I come!