Not only are the windows overlooking my backyard covered with fingerprints, there are numerous nose prints here and there on the glass as well …which makes me smile. Grass clippings and dirt stick to my bare feet and I kick a toy tractor out of my way as I go for my first cup of coffee. The house is quiet. I thought I would relish the peace this morning, but the lack of noise is almost too loud.
Grandchildren have kept me hopping for the last four days. The busyness has been constant. An old croquet set and a couple of jump ropes were discovered along with sidewalk chalk, frisbees and several other forgotten toys . Little boys talked me into setting up the tent so they could have a “headquarters” for an afternoon of detective work. We unboxed Barbies and Polly Pockets for one child and created bean fields out of blankets so the other two could harvest with their toy combines. Little hands got sticky with glue as paper plate scarecrows took shape. And Batman asked several times, “did I scare you, Gramma?”. We took an afternoon to meet up with Papa, riding in the combine and soaking up knowledge about corn and beans. Those inquisitive minds asking so many questions about farming. They love the red combine and wait anxiously all year for it to “wake up”.
And between all that activity, those small bodies were crawling up on the bar stools again and again, waiting to be fed… like little birdies. Seriously? You’re hungry again? My kitchen is now devoid of any cookies, donuts or fruit. I might also be out of bread and cheese. I’m not ready to take inventory and commit to a grocery run. I want another cup of coffee first.
I’m feeling a little blue as I savor my last few sips of Pumpkin Spice Blend. I once had four little ones of my own. I lived the chaos. But I have gotten soft and lazy… and self-focused. Caring for little ones doesn’t leave much time for reflection. Life is crazy. Life is about them. There is barely time for a shower! Survival is the goal on many days. It is easy to forget the mayhem of the day-in and day-out of mothering. I commit to pray more for my daughter.
As they covered me with hugs and kisses last night as they said their good-byes, I breathed a sigh of relief. However, at the same moment, bittersweet emotions brought a lump to my throat. So glad to see them… so glad to send them home. Am I allowed to say that? I guess, as Gramma, I am.
So, yes, the windows and floors are dirty; my cupboards are bare. And a few toys yet need to find their shelf. My bones are a bit weary. I need a break today. And quietly, as I go for my final cup of brew, I grab my calendar and mark off the days until those little kiddos are running through my house again… because I sure do miss them today.
A new chapter has begun. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Well, that’s not true. Yes, I do. My feelings are raw — like a fresh wound. I don’t like it at all. I want to turn back the clock. I don’t want to go down this road. I knew this day was coming. I should have been better prepared. The emotion and tears have actually taken me by surprise. I thought I was ready. But life has been too busy to worry about it; each day held enough problems of its own.
Now what? I can’t just sit here. Or can I? Who would know…or care? My girls are thriving. They are living their lives just as I hoped, dreamed and prayed they would since they were babies. They are healthy and strong women. They love me, their family and God. What more could I ask?
The party is mine alone. My husband doesn’t want to join me. Hmmm. Whatever.
My mind knows better. I am a blessed woman. So blessed. But my heart has some catching up to do, and it is being slow to respond. It feels tired — like it doesn’t want to do its job today. It wants to find a comfortable cushy chair, hunker down, and stare off into space all day. Maybe tomorrow too. Because in reality, it doesn’t feel like it has a job today or tomorrow.
Now what? How many times have I wished for just this: time to myself. Time to do exactly what I want to do. And I know that is not even a rational, logical thought. Because has my 18 year old really needed me to care for her around the clock? Not hardly. She has been independent for quite some time. For years now, I could take a bubble bath at 2:00 in the afternoon if I chose to do so. So why this lost feeling?
Life has been busy. So busy changing that I have not had time to think. Changing. That is an understatement. Careers. Jobs. Houses. College. Locations. Yep, lots of change — happening so fast and requiring so much energy that I almost didn’t notice. Until now. And NOW seems very quiet and strange. Maybe I’m lost because I have no children, no home, no friends, no town, no church. (remember I said pity party) I am in limbo in so many areas. Even getting groceries caused me to pause in the entrance of the store and swallow hard. I asked myself (like a book I read a couple of years ago) “do I even know what I like to eat?” And I guess that is it in a nutshell: what do I like? who am I? If I am not a mom, who am I? Do I know?
I know I know I know. I am still a “mom”. But I am not mothering. And for over 32 years, until NOW, I have been daily, actively mothering.
So this new chapter is going to be about figuring out who I am. Because I cannot depend on my children to define me anymore. They have lives of their own. And I want them to thoroughly live their lives without worrying about me and what I’m doing — or not doing. Who am I? What do I want to be now that I am all “grown up” ?
Wow, I really don’t know. And it’s kinda scaring me.