Empty the Nest?

How long do I tend the nest for a child who has already flown?

Here I sit, feeling like the worst mother in the world, right now. Tears pooling in my eyes as I type this, because I told OnlySon that I am planning on leaving North Dakota in a year, and he’s angry, albeit trying not to show it. 

He wants everything to remain the same forever, but that can’t happen. Life stagnates if left to sit too long with no forward motion.

And I have been sitting still for many years now, waiting for something to change.

I’m not happy here, anymore.

Too many heartaches and heartbreaks.

Not enough reasons to look forward to getting out of bed every morning.

So, why should I stay?

For a son who has moved in with his father & is now going to be starting a new life of his own, getting a job, being busy with that & dropping by when he needs a shower or to pick up something else I’m storing in my basement or his bedroom?

For a job, which, yes, I enjoy my work – but, let’s face facts, isn’t a life?

Let’s see… Hmm…

What else does North Dakota have to offer me?

Two ex- husbands, one within city limits, and the other an hour away… No, that’s OK.

I’ll pass.

No one has been able to come up with a compelling, or even logical, reason why I should stay beyond my timeline.

I can’t live for my children’s benefit forever. There comes a time when they have to spread their own wings and leave the nest.

This is the way of life.

Why should I stay?

Tell me. When I feel as though there’s nothing left here for me…

Why?

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The First Night

The quality of the sound is different, somehow.

The sound of the absolute silence of my house, for this, the first night of me officially living alone.

OnlySon moved out on Monday.

And EldestDaughter left with her horde today.

I’ve had days & nights on my own before, sure. Plenty of them. OnlySon went practically every weekend to his father’s house. I’ve had summers without the kids since the divorce.

It’s not like I’ve never had the house to myself…

But it’s never been this official.

And a part of me feels as though I’ve been set adrift. 

Unmoored, I am not sure which direction I’m headed in now.

I no longer have children to raise.

I have no spouse or SO to share with or answer to.

Some might think this is a reason to celebrate, to cut loose & go all “Yay Me” all over the place.

But, that means…they don’t really understand who I am at my core.

I am a caretaker.

I like and thrive on having people I care about around me to share my life with, be they children, an SO, Chosen Family, you know…loved ones.

When I’m alone… 

There’s no one to care for.

And there’s no one here who cares for me…so…

What’s the sense in staying?

Time to figure out how to get gone.


Commencement

OnlySon has graduated.

It was a fairly quick ceremony, compared to both of my daughters’, inexplicably, as the class sizes were comparable, but for whatever reason, it went easier. Which was alright with me.

I teared up a couple of times, when they first walked up, realizing that this was my youngest, my baby…and he was now old enough to claim his high school diploma & entry into adulthood…leaving childhood behind.

And when he stood in line to await that diploma, that final walk before he left his mother’s care, and her home, to venture into the wide, wild world as his own man.

A Man in Motion.

He was not to be stopped.

With a grin on his face, he kept going…leaving me to find my own way from here on out.

Exit Strategy

Graduation approaches swiftly, & I’m heavily in planning mode.

OnlySon has his cap & gown, & is eagerly awaiting the day he can kick high school to the curb.

He has requested Texas chocolate cake (a much-beloved recipe of our family’s) for his graduation party, which will be held at my house after the ceremony.

And…it’s going to be a joint party for my son…with his father, my ex-husband.

I know the ex really only wants to do a joint party because he doesn’t want to be bothered with having to plan a party, buy the supplies, host the damned thing, clean up afterwards, yadda, yadda, yadda… It’s always been his MO, to make me do all the work when it came to this sort of thing, while taking a share of the credit. Asshat. 

He says he’s bringing a second cake (he works as a baker at a grocery store here in town, so OnlySon requesting a homemade scratch recipe has wounded his pride, I’m sure), but I know his family… I’m making 2 of my cakes, just to make sure there’s some left for my family.

All the while, my anxiety has me in heavy emergency exit-strategy mode.

Except…

How do you get away from someone when they’re at your home? And they bring their family with them? Their very loud, very confrontational, very Greek, family? (If you’re picturing My Big Fat Greek Wedding in your head…Yep, you’re seeing the right people).

If anyone gets up in my face, I’m going to have a tough time holding my cool.  I will try, for my son’s sake…

But, as I’m passing out pieces of cake, I might be tempted…

The Newest Little Monkey

Ok, so I’m a little behind with this post, but it’s not my fault.

Honest.

I have a new grandson.

Everybody say hi to Maxwell!

His Mama (EldestDaughter) calls him “Monkey”, because she says he gets this little wrinkle in his forehead when he’s thinking really hard, or confused, or working on his next magnum opus, that makes him look like a baby monkey.

He was born 2/12/2017 in Washington state, where ED is now living with her SO & Schnicklefritz.

And I didn’t get to be there.

*sniffle*

But, he’s healthy, happy, & adjusting to life on the outside, according to all accounts, which is all I can ask for.

I DO get to see them all when they’ll come home for OnlySon’s graduation in May.

*BIG YAY & high five!*

So, for now, I have to survive without baby snuggles & will live vicariously through texted pictures & a recently set up weekly Skype date.

And, I’ll have to revamp my ABCs I wrote when Schnicklefritz was born, & tailor some much-needed “Gramma wisdom” for this newest addition to the zoo.

*I feel a challenge coming on*

For now, here’s some pictures I’ve wheedled out of my daughter!

Who is this person holding me? A brother, you say? Ok, I’ll start working on my “little brother pestering” skill set now.

Here’s this “big brother” person again… Are you sure he needed to follow us home, Mom?  Well, at least he seems to like me somewhat, so maybe this could work.

You know, I’m not too sure about this whole “being outside” thing, Mom & Dad…couldn’t I have just stayed where I was? I was kinda comfy there.

No snark…just awwwwwwwwwe…

*sniffle* 

I wanna snuggle him!

Reliving 2016

I am so very tired today, as though the whole weight of the year has descended upon my body in this one day.  I’ve slept so long today, only waking at 3pm, & I can still feel the heaviness dragging at me…

But, I feel the need to write, to tally the happenings of this year, and so, I come here to lay down all I can remember. This will be a fragmented account, not linear, but more likely, a simple recounting of the things I recall best.

* I bought a different vehicle. My Mitsubishi gave up on me, with too many problems I couldn’t get fixed without spending way too much money, I simply couldn’t justify keeping it any longer. I sold it to someone who was able to do much of the work himself, thereby saving himself from having to spend all that money I would’ve had to on labor.  Instead, I bought a little pickup from my dad. It is a good vehicle, if smaller & lower clearance than I’m used to, but it does the job admirably. 

* I took some horse back riding “lessons”. More just “sessions”, really, as I grew up with horses & rode most of my young life. They were fun until it got really cold, & as much as I miss riding, I’m pretty much done with the sessions, even though we’re supposed to have a couple makeups, due to bad weather, I don’t think I want to do them anymore.  I got what I wanted from it.

* My EldestDaughter is pregnant with my second grandchild, and is due in Feb. She & the grandson moved out of my home in April, moving to Washington state with her boyfriend. They are good for each other, & I hope they continue to build their family in the new year with all the humor, love, & compassion possible. Even though I miss them horribly, this is a good move for her, & I send them all good things for this upcoming year.

*OnlySon turned 18 this year, & is set to graduate in May. He’s started really enjoying his autonomy, making choices for himself & deciding on what his next steps will be toward independence. I worry for him, as independence is not something he likes, relying on his father, who was always a helicopter parent, to pick up where he leaves off & make decisions. My hope for him this year is that he truly learns the value of being his own man, working hard for what he wants, & goes after it.

* Youngerdaughter is the opposite – she is completely independent, living on her own, & working a job she really enjoys. She is straightforward, goal-oriented, & determined to do her best in every situation. I am so proud to be her mom, & I marvel at her all the time. I truly enjoy our talks on the phone ( “Oh, one more thing I have to tell you”, after we’ve been talking for an hour), and the few times we’re able to get together to visit. 

*I’m thinking of shutting down my Etsy shop. I’ve had a handful of sales since I opened, & it is just a hobby shop for me, but the legalities & business side of things are beginning to wear on me. I don’t know if I really want it anymore. We’ll see what 2017 presents. 

*My love life continues to elude. I’ve heard from many that if I stop looking, it’ll find me, but I don’t think so. In order for love to find you, you have to be visible, & I am not. I don’t “go out”, I don’t mingle, I hate crowds & shopping in public. How is love going to find me at home, curled up in my chair with a book?

Ludicrous.

And, anyway, the men I’ve met always have some reason they’re unattainable, anyway. 

1. Geographic issues. We’ve talked for 3 1/2 years, & he still hasn’t come to see me as he’s promised, & the country he’s in is impossible for me to visit, due to many reasons. He proclaims love loudly & often, but has broken every promise he’s made. Anyone who knows me, knows that if you don’t keep your word with me, I will stop trusting anything you say…and then it’s pretty much over. I don’t want to give up on this possibility, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to continue. I’ve given 3 1/2 years of my life…how much more time does he think he has to prove himself? 

Maybe this is my fault…I should’ve stopped it all years ago & not taken him back after the first argument. Why didn’t I? Because the heart is blind, deaf & stubborn. And, maybe, because having him in the background keeps me from getting hurt by anyone else. There’s always the excuse of “Oh, sorry, I can’t get to know you or date you because I’m seeing someone who’s out of the country”. *sigh* 

Me and my love of impossible relationships… 

2. Vulnerability issues. I understand not wanting to be hurt again after bad experiences…I do. Been there, done that, still wearing the tread marks. BUT, if you never trust, you never get the benefits of real love. If growing older alone holds no problem for you, *shrug* I guess I can’t say anything to change that, but I don’t want that life for myself. I still wonder, sometimes, if he ever thinks about me & regrets his decision. I dreamt about him not long ago, & have had a terrible urge to email him. I haven’t done so, but the feeling is still there. 

3. Commitment issues.  Twice burned, forever shy, I guess. Been there, too, with 2 failed marriages under my belt, I know what it’s like. But, I don’t want to give up on the possibility of love.  I won’t let myself love someone who isn’t willing to commit. We can be friends, but that’s all I’ll ever give. He’ll never know what could’ve been, after throwing it away. And someday, even the friendship will fade until it is gone altogether. That’s just how it works. 

*I want to travel. I want to see my nephew in Georgia. He is my best friend, and I miss him something chronic. He wants me to move down South after my son graduates, & I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it. 

* My job is going well. After one of the other ladies moved away, I was tasked with assuming many of her duties, & it keeps me busier than ever. I had a good evaluation this year, & I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I still like what I do, but I could do without the bullying that happens occasionally. No job is perfect, however, so I just take the lumps with the sweet, & keep going.

*I’ve been working on improving my house, when I can, and as I can afford it. It’s slow, as money isn’t overly abundant, but progress is being made, & that’s the important part. One day, I will sell it and move on to elsewhere. Where to and when this will happen? I don’t know yet…but, my feet itch, & I am tired of snow.

*I’ve been spending a lot more time learning about Introversion and how it relates to me. After taking that personality test a few months ago, & learning I fit the INFJ type, I’ve discovered so many true statements about who I am & where I want to go next. This journey doesn’t stop here, it simply opens different doors.

*Oh, yeah…almost forgot. I’ve been published in someone else’s book again.

In 2011, I wrote a post about Dr. Bohdan Hordinsky, a man I knew when I was younger. A couple of years ago, someone who used to live in my hometown contacted me, asking if he could use some of it in a book he was writing about his own life. I said “Sure, just give me credit for whatever you use”, & mostly forgot about it.

This year, he contacted me again, to tell me the book had been published, & is now available in places like Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, & like places. He also sent me a copy of the book, with a handwritten note.

He used the whole post, copying it word for word, & gave me total credit for it, even including me in the acknowledgments. It’s pretty cool, having been published 3 times now, twice for writing, once for photography, but always in others’ books. My nephew insists that I should write my own book, but I don’t know if I have the patience or the business acumen for it. It’s a lot of work, & I write for pleasure. Would it still be pleasurable if I took that route? I’m not so sure.

Well, there you have it…a little time encapsulated. I wonder…if I plant these seeds, what kind of garden would come up next spring? Would I get lovely flowers, or thorny & noxious weeds?

Maybe I should just put them in the ground and find out…