It’s been just more than a month since I finished my year’s obligation and I’ve busied myself with all sorts of things I wouldn’t exactly describe as constructive. The weather here has been far less than summery, with the only warm day arriving today when within sight of the Pacific we’ve actually mustered up an admirable 82 degrees. With an almost non-existent summer, I can only say that constructiveness must be connected to the things I expect at any given time during the year. A matter of rote. Habit.
Better said, I’ve been spending my time processing the fact that I not longer work doing something I’ve done for more than 20 years, but this time for good. I’ve also been processing that after mothering three boys, my youngest is headed off to school, leaving the MoH and I with a seriously empty nest. I think that, more than anything, with all of its unknowns, has caught us completely by surprise.
It’s a bit of a choking sensation for me, felt when I least expect it. It overwhelms me with its intensity, and I unrealistically imagine bears and woods, sinking boats, and other disasters I can’t help my son from. How ridiculous is that? Seriously.
But we still need to find our corners occasionally to weep silently in the middle of an unrelated conversation until one of us notices that the other has stopped his or her side of the conversation. And then one of us knows. We know that the empty nest syndrome has enveloped one of us and so the other quietly excuses him or herself to allow the sorrow to pass.
What the hell.
This should be a time of celebration. It should be a time for looking forward to all that lies ahead. The future. Opportunity. Yadda yadda yadda.
I try. Honestly, I do. And it works most of the time on most days.
I busy myself with planning a trip to the UK in the fall. As someone who lived her professional life married to a school calendar, trust me. I want to travel in the fall when everyone else is at work or in school. It’s just that one moment on that one day on that one afternoon. All it takes is a look, and then I’m toast.
We’ve purchased bedding for his dorm room. We’ve paid for the housing and food. We’ve reviewed books and supply lists and have made plans to purchase them here then drive them up. But time is dwindling. More than 30 years raising boys. More than 20 years teaching other people’s children.
It will take a bit of time to adjust.