Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Empty Nest

Beren and I are on vacation now, have been up at the Ormond house since last Thursday night. As always, I love being up here; it's peaceful, relaxing and since there's little furniture and "stuff," there's little to do as far as housekeeping. So we spend our days shopping, mostly at thrift stores searching for items to decorate the house, or reading, playing on the computer, watching movies, sightseeing, etc. It's lovely, really, because even tho Beren lived here for 6 years and feels like a local, I'm still discovering the area myself.

Also, since our house down south is packed to the brim at home with people, critters and "things," it can be overwhelming at times! There's always someone home, something to do/clean/maintain, never a dull moment unless you choose to make it so. We've been getting away every chance we get as it allows a bit of breathing room, space for us and for the kids. I mean, it's not easy for us having 4 grown children underfoot all the time nor do they appreciate having the folks constantly peering over their shoulder! I'm sure this is especially true for Kali & Kevin; they're still newlyweds after all!

So, yes, this Ormond house is providing a respite from the hustle & bustle and chaos of "home" and I'm really enjoying it. For the most part. There are times when it's not so great, sudden moments of loneliness, long hours when it's a bit too quiet, when I miss the children, my Home. I don't have anyone here. No friends. No workmates. No family. Just Beren. Don't get me wrong, we're having a great time playing Newlyweds ourselves and I think this situation has greatly benefited out relationship, but I can't and don't want to rely on him 100%. And let's face it, we don't share the same interests all the time! When he's sitting in front of the television watching endless hours of football or Sci-Fi, I'm accustomed to doing my own thing whether it be visiting with one of my girls or hopping in the car to go shopping or run an errand. Maybe I go get my nails done or just putter around the house because, as I mentioned before, there is always something to do. Often I head to the kitchen and whip up dinner or a special dessert for the whole family to enjoy. Sometimes I just curl up with a book and Jezebel or Jackson and we catnap together. Up here I can't do any of those things. We only have one car and it's Beren's, a stick shift which I never learned to drive. There are no kids or kitties, no garden, no nothing. If I cook something it's only for he and I and dessert will go to waste around here, I'm not used to cooking for two!

In light of all this, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and deep thinking, might have even learned a thing or two about myself. While I've always enjoyed my alone time and am comfortable with solitude (I'm an only child, after all) I really do enjoy people around me. I like to cook for others, it's not nearly as enjoyable doing it "just" for myself. And as much as I like a quiet, clean environment I also come alive with the noise and ruckus that constitutes a full house! I'm happiest when the kids are all home, laughing and telling stories around the dinner table, passing food that I've prepared especially for them. It makes me feel special, important, and, yes, loved. Without that, I'm honestly not sure what my purpose is in life. It sounds so cliche, but if I'm not a full time mom, who am I? When my children move out, as they inevitably will, what am I going to do then? What will fill my time and, more importantly, my heart? Where will all of this emotional and physical caretaking be directed? Honestly, I'm terrified at the prospect! I've been a mother since I was 19 years old, for goodness' sake, 25 years of focusing on children, I don't know how to do anything else!

I know, most women experience this "empty nest syndrome" and they manage to get through it just fine. They go back to school, focus on their career, take up a hobby, or in the case of my friend Tracey whose son just left for college, join a gym. While those are all great suggestions, still I'd come home to an empty house at the end of the day.

I'm not sure what the answer is but I guess it's a good thing I'm getting this birds eye view of what's up ahead for me. Right now, today in fact, I can drive 4 hours and walk in the front door to be greeted by all of my children living under my roof and for a little while I'll be content. But this time is short lived and therefore ever-so-precious. I'm going to savor it, soak up all of the sweet moments while I can but also start planning for when those baby birds take flight. Perhaps at this point I need to start feathering my own nest?

1 comment:

Aisling said...

Time to write that novel you've always dreamed of writing(or is that my dream)? I know you have some stories to tell... as we all do.

The quiet of your get away sounds nice to me, but I know I would be experiencing the same emotions that you are. Perhaps this is your season for introspection... I suspect you'll make something beautiful of this time in your life after some contemplation.

hugs and warm wishes for a beautiful holiday,