Articles and books talk about this “transition,” from raising children to parenting around the edges, but it seems to be different for everyone. Every child.
When my first daughter went off to make her own life, I was a bit lost, and my heart ached, but I was raising two other people. Distraction is a marvelous curtain.
The relationship with my second child was rife with drama, so that helped with the initial push, but I curled myself in a blanket of sadness for a few weeks before emerging as a mother of one remaining high schooler.
It has been seven months since we took our youngest to California. There are no more distractions. We have visited, and the transition has been almost lovely, but rather than the empty nest, I am left with this strange dim light on the world.
It occurred to me this morning that life is less interesting through adult-only eyes, or at least it is for me these days. Children ask questions. They see things from a quirky and unique perspective. As their hand holder, explain-this person, I spent my days turning things upside down.
Now, they are off discovering that much of life is not nearly as magical as it appeared when they were children, and I am back to my own eyes. I like to think of myself as a fairly playful person, but lately, I am stiflingly literal.
All the things people say about “finally regaining your life,” and “having more me-time” are real. Bedrooms are clean, and when I want an orange there is one in the bowl, but the day-to-day of life has dimmed without someone asking me if cows drink their own milk or a different animal’s milk.
The questions. I miss the questions. Not because I always enjoyed finding or making up the answers, but because they engaged me in my own life too. How will I explain? What should I say?
Raising children, there is always this sense that someone is watching, questioning, and giggling.
Michael and I still giggle. My kids still ask questions about filing taxes, the best way to store their baking supplies, or if I think they should change their major. Again.
The pieces are still there, the relationships growing, but they too are adults now. The crayons are put away, and the wonder is harder to come by these days. There are no goldfish to flush, no bathroom concoctions or friend drama.
We are solely responsible for our own wonder these days, and it is taking a minute. Or seven months.
That is all from the laundry room. Dream.