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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Independence Weekend

My surgery on May 26th was more than I thought, and harder to recover from than I anticipated.  A hysterectomy, removal of multiple inclusions of endometrosis, & work on my bladder, all meant that I didn’t recover as fast as I wanted, or as quickly & thoroughly as some others expected.  It’s been a long, tired road, but I’m nearing the end if it.

My 6-week recheck appointment is fast approaching (Tuesday), and I’m fairly sure he’ll tell me I can go back to my normal life.  I haven’t had anymore unexpected pain, or bleeding, even if I do still get tired quicker, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it was.  And, I’ve learned to take it easy when I get home, no heavy lifting on my own, and to rest , at least for short periods, in between more demanding tasks.

Yes, I’m doing my own yard work again.

Yes, I’m digging holes, trimming hedges, mowing, pruning, weeding flowerbeds, moving furniture, all of it.

No, I’m not going to fall down, because, as I said, I’m being cautious. If it feels like too much, I stop, or ask for help, or wait till I’m rested to try again. I need my independence back.

I hate relying on others for things I know I’m perfectly capable of doing on my own. I hate asking for help. I hate being a burden at all, whether the help is willingly given, or done out of familial obligation. 

I’d rather just do it myself, & not worry that I’m imposing on someone else’s time.

OnlySon is home this weekend for the holiday.  We have a standing date for the 4th, having done this for years, as his father always had to work, & worked nights. Now, it’s special to me, because it’s our tradition, something he & I do together, when there’s so very little that we do in this way. When the time rolls around, we get fries & drinks from McD’s, & head out north of town, to watch the fireworks stores put on their nightly show, & to watch all the surrounding neighbor farms put on their shows.

One of the good things about North Dakota? When you leave town, you can see the horizon in 360 degrees, leaving a stunning vista for fireworks, stars, meteor showers, and Aurora Borealis, when the seasons change.

It’s a small thing, this tradition of ours, fries & fireworks, but it’s something he & I came up with together, and I cherish it, because it’s not just the holiday that’s special…it’s who you spend it with.

And all too soon, next year, in fact, he’ll be all grown up, & probably too old to hang with his ol’ ma for French fries and fireworks.

Shock and Awe

Last Monday, YoungerDaughter turned 21.

Oof.  Right to the gut.

It’s definitely been harder to wrap my head around this fact than it was when EldestDaughter hit that milestone.  Why? *shrug*  No clue.

Well, maybe 1 or 2 clues.

EldestDaughter turned 21 just 3 days before giving birth to the Toddler Tornado.  There wasn’t any drunken bar crawl fanfare done, since she was hugely preggers on her actual birthday, & couldn’t drink for a long time afterward, due to nursing an infant & recovering from labor.  So, turning 21 for her was both happy & sad.  She got the best birthday present ever, but couldn’t hoist a frosty one in celebration.  Oh well…

YoungerDaughter,  on the other hand, has always been called “The Innocent One” by her friends & family alike.  She maintains a child – like wonder & awe that stuns people when they realize she has actually held on to her innocence, and prefers it that way, stubbornly.  She is very mature for her age, intellectually & logically, but she still states that she’d “rather be 6”.  She totally still enjoys her beloved things from her childhood, like tiaras, Pooh Bear anything & a passionate obsession with Sailor Moon.

I’ve been in awe of her for years, living in the times we do, she has solidly refused to become jaded.  She, somehow, has become a mature innocent.

A contradiction, that child… no, I have to say it.

Adult.

So it’s difficult,  with all these contradictions, to reconcile her complete autonomy from me.

It’s definitely a shock to realize that I only have a handful of years left before I won’t have any actual children left in my brood.

They’ll all be grownups in a heartbeat.

Oof.

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Happy Birthday, Toodles. May your heart be ever-young.

Tuesdays are for Nonsense and Musings

Musings:

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I want someone who will introduce me to his friends with a silly grin on his face.

Someone who, when I’m in a bad mood, knows to just let me be mad…and then when to coax me out of it with a smile, a kiss & a hug.

Someone who will let me take care of him when he’s not feeling well, instead of being a big, tough bastard who needs no one.

Someone not afraid of the commitment I need in my life. I need that, and haven’t had it for a very long time… including when I was married.  He was committed to remaining married, but he had no desire to commit to loving me, or even liking me, very much.  I need to know that the man in my life wants ME, with all that entails.

I’ve been talking to/involved with someone long distance for almost 2 years now, and I’m hoping that he’ll be able to come here soon. (It’s a long way from there to here, but we’re working on it)

He wants the whole shebang. Family, home, love, a life together, forever and ever, amen. 

And I sit here, just hoping… crossing fingers/eyes/toes… because I’ve had it all fall apart too many times, leaving me alone.

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And now, for the Nonsense:

I gave Schnicklefritz, the Toddler Tornado,  a haircut last night. Buzzed on the sides and back, and just long enough on top to give him a “faux hawk”. I would post a pic, but I was not allowed to paparazzi him. Some days he loves the camera, other days…not so much.

EldestDaughter & Schnicklefritz are going to see family in Iowa this weekend, and OnlySon is headed to his father’s after school lets out for the summer tomorrow… contemplating a weekend alone, you say?

Enter tragic drama with YoungerDaughter! Roommate troubles are bringing her home for some “Mommy and Sympathy” time. A little late-night binge tv, some desperately unhealthy snacks, & some thrift shopping is what’s on the menu… along with some house cleaning.

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Gramma, I love you! And the dirt pile in Great-Grandma’s yard. Hugs??

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My dad stripped this of many years’ worth of paint, & I wood – filled some nail holes, sanded the top, & sprayed 3 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane on. New brushed nickel drawer pulls & nailed the lock covers back on.

I like it just how it is, stripped of artifice, with the evidence of the past still marking it, ever so slightly, but shielded from the elements, put back together, & made useful again.

Hmm, maybe some Musings among the Nonsense.

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I Don’t Think That’s What They Meant

I’ve always known that reading to my kids was good for them.

Expanding their horizons, showing them different worlds, different people, cultures, ideas, crammed in the pages of a bound book.

And there are books on all sorts of topics for kids now.

Books just for the pleasure of reading an entertaining story, books for education.

There are books for potty-training, for bed-time, for learning to deal with siblings, leaning to cope with the death of a pet, learning how to be better at this or that, for learning everything from alphabets to zydeco music playing.

I know that reading – reading almost anything – broadens anyone’s mind, not just a child’s.

But – the other night, I added a twist.

OnlySon is 16.  And he and I both understand that he’s far more esoterically knowledgeable than most people think.  We talk to each other in a manner most wouldn’t expect a parent to talk to a 16 yr. old.

I talk to him more as I would another adult.  Well, at least, another adult who just so happens to be my 16 yr. old child.  There are still some subjects we both agree are not appropriate, not – ugh – comfortable for either of us.  And our agreement works.

He can handle it – and he respects me for respecting that about him.

So, the other night, I was reading a new book I’d picked up at the book store – Augusten Burrough’s “Magical Thinking”.

It’s a hilarious set of stories about things that have happened to him in his own life.  And he freely admits that he’s “emotionally damaged goods”, so, even while I can feel bad about the fucked up things he’s had to experience growing up, and since, I can laugh along with him as he laughs at himself.

I sat and chuckled, snickered, and gut-busted laughed for 2 hours straight after bringing this home and immediately sitting down to enjoy it.

Of course, OnlySon had to know what was so funny.

So – I read a chapter – out loud – to him.

All about how Augusten had found a “rat/thing” in his bathroom, and proceeded to destroy it, then to go on to practically destroy his bathroom in order to rid himself of the taint of the rat/thing’s infestation of his life.

It’s funnier in the book.

And, after hearing the story, my son proceeded to tell me about a story he’d read – about a man who’d chugged half a soda, only to find a ground up frog in the can…..

The things we do to one another for the sake of a good story. *urp*

Later than night, I was standing in the bathroom, contemplating the meaning of life (brushing my teeth, actually, but close enough), when I heard EldestDaughter downstairs.  The cadence and rhythm of her voice told me she was reading a new story to the ToddlerTornado.

And I was struck by the coincidence, and the slight difference of the subject matter we’d each chosen to read to our sons.

At least… well, leaning out of the bathroom, I was pretty sure my new book was still sitting by my chair.

I don’t think that’s what they meant when the “experts” said “Read to Your Children”.

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Additions and Subtractions

There have been a lot of additions and subtractions in my life lately.

Some positive, some… not so much.

But, I have to deal with all of them, get through them.  I must celebrate the good, and grieve for the bad.

The Good News:

I started OnlySon on blogging this last week.  He has been writing short, flash fiction for a little while now, and enjoys putting stories down.  I’ve read some of his stuff, and he has a promising future as a fiction writer.  He’s gifted in his storytelling, and can pull a reader in with the emotional and descriptive things he writes.  It’s all a little twisted and somewhat on the darker side, but – who am I to speak to that?  After all, I write a lot of monster stories, myself!

When we first set up his blog, he was sort of “meh” about it, nonchalant and noncommittal.  But… after he posted his first piece of flash fiction, he got a couple of almost instantaneous “likes” and was strutting like a fluffed-up peacock with pride.  He turned to me and said “You know, this IS going to go to my head.”

I said “Good, it should.  You need to know that other people enjoy your stories as much as I do.  You’re good at this.”

I want him to know that he has a definite talent, instead of always being told he’s not “good enough”, or “smart enough”.  He has a tough time in school, sometimes, and I know that his self-esteem isn’t always at the top end.  So this positive feedback from relative strangers is massively good for him.

Yes, there are things he could work on, and I’ve told him that I will help him with editing anytime he wants, but that I will NOT restrain him from writing whatever he wants.  This is HIS outlet, and I won’t squash that.

The Bad News:

I am on my own again.  There was a man I was in a relationship with, long distance, but I could handle that.  He hurt me emotionally, and I don’t know if there’s a glue that can fix that..

So.

I am left to find my own way once more.

It hurts – immensely.  I’ve cared about him for a long time, and was really hoping it would become something more.  But you can’t change the weather, you can’t fix someone else’s problems for them, and you can’t change their mind when they refuse to talk to you, hear you, or give you a chance to prove them wrong.

I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.  I want someone I can share my life with, that I can share his too.  I want someone who will touch me like he means it, who will be there through the happy and the sad.  I want a partner I can stand beside and walk through life with.

I want someone who is not going to disappear on me, as others have.

I am an eternal romantic optimist, but this is a blow.  And it will take time to trust anyone else enough to believe that they won’t simply take off.

Additions and Subtractions.

And me, with my allergy to math.

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