Bear with me here. This is not a health and wellness post which is what I normally post here. So if you aren’t up for a little sappy I don’t want to take up your space and I’d love you to come back another day.
A couple of days ago I closed the door behind me as I came into a very quiet and empty home – except for our two dogs. Thank goodness for our furry friends! As of last Saturday I am officially an empty nester. Those two words. I really wish someone at some point would have thought of something different to call us parents who have finally, after years of early mornings, fights over homework, dirty sports socks, late nights staying up waiting for teens to get home and a gazillion dollars later, taken that last child to their landing spot outside of their home.
Years ago when we took the First Son to move into his college dorm I remember we had those typical fuzzy in the future talks about things far on the horizon. Those things we would do when we moved our last son out and had time and space and energy to get out and enjoy . . . If you have children, I bet at some time you have had those exact same thoughts and conversations.
Well, this empty home (except for the above mentioned dogs) is another reminder that things don’t always go as planned. This year, 2020, is a great big, fat reminder that sometimes it does not matter how meticulous you are, how well intentioned, organised and forward thinking, some things just do not follow a plan.
When I got married waaaay back in 1993 in the church I grew up in and started on a shiny new life I had plans. They were great plans. That’s what I do – make plans. I’m one of those folks that while coming home from a vacation begins planning the next one. I like to have something on the horizon. I need to have something to look forward to. I think that was one of the hardest things for me to grasp hold of when my marriage began to crack and things began to take a whole other turn. Then the boys lost their father. Life took a big pivot and I had to get my footing and learn to go with very short term plans and goals. Not knowing what was in the future and what lay ahead completely derailed me. It sent my head spinning in waaayyyy too many directions and kept me up endless hours at night.
At some point, I was told to try to look at this new time as a gift. A time to adjust, accept, go with the flow and create new plans. Or let go of crazy planning and be open to new things. That sounds just a bit flaky for me. Unfortunately, I am my mother’s daughter. If you knew her you know she was the queen of control and would easily micromanage the mess out of you. I am far from the controller and ultra organizer that my mother was, but I do struggle with the unknown.
I’ve had the past year to get to this point. I knew it was coming and am completely ready for the Third Son to begin his own independence, experiences and time out from under me. I’m so excited for him and this time in his (and all of my boys’) life. And believe me, God made them each get to the point of being royal pains in the arses at the appropriate time, so we would all be ready for the move. There’s a season for everything, right? And while I could say that my work is done here I know better. I am not one of the moms who hovers and makes the trip to do a child’s laundry or clean the bathroom, but I do know there are still more mom duties ahead.
However, back to the bigger question of “what now”? I am trying to re-learn a way to live that does not include a sports calendar or any type of calendar or something big on the horizon. Right now there just isn’t a next thing. It is a wide open space. I think I’m trying to plan on not having a plan. . .
Of all times, this time in our lives is a pretty good time to be in this position. You may not have a newly empty home, but you may be feeling the same with the fluidity of our current pandemic situation. Not knowing if your children will be staying in school, moving back to online classes, whether you’ll be teaching seventh grade math (Heaven help you!), whether you will ever go back to your office for work, or your day job at all, leaves us all in a state of flux with a big question mark on the horizon.
There’s a new season ahead. While so many things have been turned upside down, there are some things that will keep me grounded during this between time. So, for now, this is my plan. . . .
Get up every day, put my feet on the floor, connect with my people, be open, and move forward. In between there are many little things to add each day to make a good day. For me, that’s exercise, quiet time, getting outside, making time to be creative, work, finding someone to make me laugh every day (you know who you are out there) and focusing on the day’s experience and trying not to force too many things in the future.
Maybe others will creep in now there is more space and quiet around here.
Sappy post over.