i know what you’re thinking. empty nest? you’re 29! are you talking about your own mother’s empty nest? because you can’t possibly be suffering from empty nest, your nest is full. your nest is overflowing with little chicks!
wrong. it’s me i’m talking about. my grets went to her first week of preschool camp last week. 4 days, 3 hours a day. it just so happened to coincide with my first one day official work week. i have been wanting to go from 2 days a week, down to 1, and i recently got the OK to drop down to just mondays. with the economy things have been a little slow at work and i’ve been getting fairly busy with the photography business, so it was the perfect solution.
there i was with only 1 day of work, and 3 days, and 9 hours left of solitude. i easily filled the first 2 days with errands and cleaning, it’s amazing the types of errands i can do without a little one in tow. we’re talking car wash, bank, lumber store, target, book return, and all this in the first hour and a half. i even had the option to stop and pick up a salad at baja buds! yep. i got to eat an official lunch. no string cheese and soggy cheerios for me that day!
then thursday came. her last day of camp, all my errands completed. i decided to drive down to the target in manhattan beach because i’ve heard it’s great and it just so happened they were the only target that carried a piece of furniture i have been obsessing over for awhile. on the drive back home it finally hit me that she wasn’t in the car. and with 2 hours left til i picked her up, what was i going to do? i could’ve come home and worked on the never-ending pile of laundry, refilled the fridge for the bottomless pits i call children. but i just cried instead. i had expected her to have a little bit of a hard time without me. a few tears. maybe a whine for me to stay a bit and play. but she loved it. she was completely content to be on her own. and here i am completely non(un)content to be alone.
i haven’t really been alone in almost 8 years. i am used to always having someone with me. i always have a buddy on hand. a little person to keep me company. and yes, i have complained about my lack of privacy, lack of sanity, lack of “me” time, but after having all that. it’s not all that great. being alone is fine for a bit. like 45 minutes. but after that, it’s kind of boring, and well. . . lonely.
so the tears flowed and i vented a bit on the phone. of course, i kind of chose the wrong person to vent to. auntie rachel, childless and thinking i’m crazy for crying on the 405 freeway after just leaving target because i was lonely wasn’t my best choice. especially because she had just landed in ohio and was waiting for her luggage. she was happy grets was doing so well and i should be happy for that too. true. but i couldn’t help but think about all the years ahead of me where it’s just going to be me. i will drop them at school and pick them up and all that time in between will be me by myself.
it’s been a long time since i’ve had that much time. and i’m sure it won’t take very long for those hours to fill up. my house may actually stay in some type of order for longer than 30 seconds. i may actually cook an entire meal from ingredients instead of bags and boxes. i may even take a regular walk. i may go to the mall, alone. i may walk into coffee bean to get my coffee instead of use the drive thru.
i will however be in those classrooms. i will be “that” mom who knows every classmates’ first and last name. i will be the one who volunteers for the field trips and the art projects. i will be the mom whose kid is not surprised to see her walk across the yard and wave as she’s on her way to the office to drop off some papers.
but despite all this, i will have to get used to an empty nest. i guess it’s part of growing up. for me, that is. not them.