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I came home from an afternoon of errands and some quiet time writing when it suddenly hit me: it’s January 31st.
I lost my mind, in that crazy psychotic way that I tend to lose my mind when I do, and since there were no witnesses (having my children witness this kind of meltdown in the past has sent them whispering about me to each other, and possibly, if they read this, to a group message on their phones).
Today’s meltdown happened because I was sick of looking at the stupid tree, and, not having any other recourse, attempted to pull it out by myself.
What was I thinking? It’s an 8 foot dried up tree. I’m a 5″7 chubby middle-aged momma.
Tree 1 — Momma 0
I was not going to have that. No. No way. So I took matters into my own hands. There’s a small chainsaw in the garage. How hard could it be to use? I’ve seen my husband and my son wave it around and bring down trees.
I can do that. I’m sure Helen Reddy was singing a chorus or two in my mind when I had that bright idea. The plan was to hack the tree in half, and haul off two manageable sections. That didn’t happen.
Tree 2 — Momma 0
What did happen was slightly reminiscent of that time I went skiing down the Zugspitze on my face. Then, I had snow in my underwear from sliding about 100 feet, face first, after taking a tumble.
Today, I ended up with pine needles in my underwear, hair, and, inexplicably since I was wearing boots, the inside of my socks. It was probably because I learned my technique from Leatherface.
Nevertheless, I’m a pretty resourceful broad and I took care of business.
Just don’t ask Otis.
translated from the Spanish post at Petalos de Maria
The silence in the house is deafening. I actually hear the hum of the lights when I enter a room, and find myself turning on the TV or the radio for ambient noise.
I am experiencing the beginnings of the empty nest, a new time in my life that has replaced the yelling and bickering, the shouts of joy, and sometimes cries of defeat.
My children are almost grown. One is definitely out of the house, embarking on a career in the military; one is being frugal and staying at home while attending college, but still testing her young adult wings (that means, essentially, that we never see her), and the third, a rising senior in high school away at a college summer program just informed my husband and me that if it is all the same to us, he’s not going to bother to come home for the long weekend because he’s “having a blast.”
They used to have a blast with me.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I am embracing this new experience with a little joy, a little “oy”, and a great sense of calm. I am rediscovering my relationship with my husband, and also learning that adult children are really just as fun, only in a different way. For starters, whether or not they clean their room is no longer my problem.
It was my problem for many, many years, only, I prefer not to call it a problem. It is a challenge, certainly. A responsibility. A duty. A loving vocation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:
The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society. (CCC 2207)
I sure do hope and pray I got it right. I look at them and wonder if there isn’t one more thing I can say, one more thing I can teach them, perhaps one more piece of advice that they can turn a deaf ear to until they need it. Maybe not.
The “empty nest” is a misnomer. It’s not empty—it’s full of memories. And the best part of all is that there’s room to welcome them home.