I’ve done some heavy thinking this week, mainly about the future. My kids are growing up, and it is definitely bittersweet. There will come a time when they’re grown; they will move out of the house and have families of their own. Obviously, I’ve always known this. . . But it’s creeping up faster and faster, and it’s going to be a reality before I even realize it.
Thursday night I was alone in my house for dinner, and I couldn’t recall the last time that it had happened. Matt was at work, Chase with his dad, and Grandma was out of town. It made me feel a little itchy – it was so uncommon, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So, I called Andy and chatted while I debated what to make for myself for dinner. I multi-tasked, pulling out a magazine I had been meaning to read as well. There wasn’t anyone interrupting my phone call, or anyone but myself to feed – like, I didn’t have to cater to anyone else. I could literally eat whatever the hell I wanted without having to worry about what anyone else wanted.
Last week I edited and published You Have to Start Somewhere. As I ate my dinner and flipped through a health food article, I also thought about the last lines in that post – about how someday I won’t have hooligans to take care of anymore, and it will just be me. It made me wonder if I was getting a preview of that in this moment -eating dinner in my dining room by myself, paging through a magazine.
It was peaceful. There wasn’t the bickering between two brothers, or the questions about weekend plans. There was no ceaseless chatter about playground drama or the endless litany of teenage requests.
But there also wasn’t any laughter over ridiculous statements, or enlightening information from a child’s perspective. I had this health food article telling me I shouldn’t be eating the macaroni and cheese that was on my plate – not a news flash. My phone buzzed letting me know that Andy had sent me something via Facebook Messenger, but otherwise….
A friend recently posed a thought provoking question – is being alone freedom, or is it lonely? Maybe he was referring to a romantic relationship, but since it’s been a while since I’ve been involved with someone, my thought was more about the kids growing up and moving out. My friend concluded that there can be both – a sense of freedom, and a sense of loneliness – and I agreed. Because I was free to cook whatever I wanted, and have an uninterrupted phone conversation, and I could read a whole magazine article without having to get up and tend to something for one of the kids. When I found myself in a similar situation Friday night, I went to the store without having to drag an unwilling child with me, and I walked out with what I went for instead of half a cart of junk food. Saturday was the same – no one but me and little Meeha at home. I cleaned the house while listening to music as loud as I wanted, and then went to visit friends. . . This morning I woke up and started my day in no hurry to be anywhere or do anything – I had no obligations for the day. I had four days with limited time with my kids, and it was freeing.
But when Matt got off work Friday and wanted to go to the store, I was all in and thoroughly enjoyed my time with him. Chase will be home here shortly, and I’m looking forward to the biggest of hugs from him.
I missed the hooligans while still enjoying the freedom.
Matthew is starting to look at colleges. He’s getting letters almost daily from all different types of schools. While he is planning to stay fairly close to home, he’s decided to expand his reach a little farther than he was originally planning. I am so proud of the fact that he basically has his pick of any college in the country, but good lord am I going to miss him when he’s gone.
Chase is closer to being a teenager than not, and I’m about to start that journey with him. In no time he’ll be where Matthew is at, and it is honestly a little frightening for me.
I could get lost in the future if I let myself.
Or, I could enjoy the moments for what they are. I can enjoy my little one’s hugs and random late night shopping trips with my oldest. I can also enjoy time to myself and embrace the lack of complication that alone time brings.
There is no time like the present. I will never get these times back. Best to enjoy them while they last. Best to leave the future where it belongs – in the future.
Happy Sunday. Embrace the here and the now.
Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash