When I started this blog in September of 2010, it was strictly for therapeutic purposes. I had been going to a very thoughtful and incredibly practical therapist, hoping for some help in coming to terms with my newly empty nest. It was she who suggested that I write a journal of my feelings, thoughts, reactions and decisions. It was she who suggested that I start a blog to record all of those things.
When I started my therapy with her, I had raised three children and was facing the end of my “mommy” years. Before having those precious children, I had gone through years of infertility treatments. There had been a time in my life when I had truly feared that I would never be a mother. Nothing that I have experienced before or since that time has been as painful or as terrifying. For years, all I wanted was the chance to be somebody’s Mom, to love and hold and nurture some babies, to raise those babies and watch them grow. For years, my dreams all centered on giving birth.
Once my dreams came true, I threw myself, body and soul, into being a Mommy. We had our struggles, of course (Asthma attacks, anyone? Hockey coach from hell, broken elbow, teen angst, crazy neighbors, track meets, football games, broken hands, broken feet, more asthma attacks……), but through it all, I felt that I had found my place. I was a really, really good Mom. I was fun, I was loving, I was a wicked good cook and a great manager of medical needs. Paul was a coach, a hiking partner, a constant supporter. The five of us were a team, and it was really, really fun.
Then they were gone.
It felt so sudden, and I was so supremely unprepared. I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming, but it caught me completely off guard. They were here, then they were gone. I was the Mommy, then I was alone with two sad dogs and a very empty house.
I was adrift, bereft, lost. My heart was broken, although I tried to hide it from the kids. I couldn’t even walk past their pictures without feeling tears well up. I missed them, and I missed our family, with every single molecule of my soul. I was a mess.
Now it is more than a year and a half since the sad week when both of my boys moved out and the rooms began to echo. I am doing so much better, I really, truly am. Honest! Paul and I are enjoying time with each other. I am enjoying my job more, now that I can focus on my students more fully. I like the clean and organized living room and the sink without any dirty dishes. It’s getting better every day, and I am moving forward at last. Hoorah!
I’m on school vacation this week. So I’m going to see Tim, my baby boy, at his college. Tomorrow I will drive the 2 1/2 hours to his campus, and we’ll spend the day together. We’ll eat out (probably twice) and will go shopping for supplies like socks and deodorant and beer. We’ll walk around town, maybe look in some art galleries, maybe check out a book store or two. We’ll catch up on family news, talk about politics, tell each other stories. I’ll give him the home made raviolis and the jar of marinara that I made today. He’ll laugh over the chocolate chip cookies and the Easter bunny. We’ll hug, and I’ll hold his hand as we stroll.
I’ll fill my heart with the feel of him in my arms. I’ll breathe deep to hold in the smell of his curly hair, and I’ll memorize every speck of color in his beautiful green eyes. I’ll warn him about many dangers, imagined and real, and he’ll pretend to listen.
I’ll be his Mommy, just for a minute. And I will love it.