Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who thought they would fly away?

When you are pregnant, many people are compelled to tell you their terrible childbirth story. I love to tell mine too, and it was a doozy each of three times, but I don't tell pregnant women unless they really really have a ghoulish desire to hear it. Sometimes it is fun, but only if both sides want to talk.

As my last child approaches graduation and heads for college, I am afraid that when she leaves I will just collapse. I went from that pregnant woman to a mother of three. The house was chaotic. They ran all around the house, participating in school theater and music (Katie) and playing baseball (Ben and Joe). The rides, the fights, the sunflowers spilling from the pockets of baseball pants, the costumes, the ice cream trips, and the wonderful moments where I wasn't exhausted and they all got along.

One left, then the other. It was hard to see them go, but at least there was one left. I know, this is great: They are successful well-rounded really nice kids. This is how I brought the up to be, right up to the part when they spread their wings and fly. But it's not totally true. I basically did not bring them up to leave. I had them for my enjoyment. Well, of course, I knew they would leave. But the time seemed so far away, I thought it never would come. I was too busy pulling Legos out of my feet.

Katie and I have spent the past few weeks looking at the mail for either a big envelope (good) or a little one (rejection). She's just about done with her college search. She is trying to decide between two excellent choices. It's been stressful.

On top of it is the busy-bodies with their prediction of my desolation. Some say, "I know we've already talked about it, but I still keep thinking about how sad you'll be when Katie goes away." Some just point it out as though it's a new thought for them.

I have no wall against this. So then, the wood planks on the floor sound creakier each time I step on certain ones. The house feels emptier. Bad idea to live through tomorrow's problems today, so I should stop. Hopefully, I will be busier and get my activities back.

I told the person who last brought it up that I am certain I will go to bed, pull my covers over my head and become a recluse who depends on food brought in occasionally.

Let's hope I was wrong.


Meryl said...

Ronni: I promise to bring you food including appropriate quantities of chocolate) and the newspaper. What else does anyone REALLY need anyway? I suppose there is something to be said for not dwelling on the unpleasant future now, when you could be enjoying Katie rather than mourning her. I'd be inclined to rehearse the leaving over and over in my mind, as though this could protect me from the moment it really happens. The Zen wisdom: be with it, whatever it is and then let it go. Love,

PJ said...

This sure resonates with me. Maybe it's time to downsize the nest. You will find things to fill the time.

Susan C said...

I have no doubt that (after a brief mourning period) you'll find wonderful activities to fill the void.

Ann said...

Ronni, you are such a resilient fascinating soul that I have no doubt that you'll be fine. You and Patricia constantly amaze me and make me smile. I read your comment on the Plog and I look forward to being able to ask strangers in the bookstore if they've read either of your books.

Jonny said...

Ronni: Interesting... 8 paragraphs and not a word about cancer treatments, hospitals, doctors, etc. Just the normal tough emotional stuff that we all have to go through.

So maybe you're on the rebound after all..just dealing with the ordinary vicissitudes of life.

Wouldn't that be nice for a change.

PS -- I'd be happy to lend you my daughter for about 8-9 years if you're feeling lonely when yours leaves home...oh, will you embrace your isolation then!

Anonymous said...

Time for a new lab puppy! They're much cuter than babies anyway. (Though Katie and Charlotte were pretty close competition, at least by age 1...)


Diane said...

The space that the absence of our children creates can be lonely and hard to fill, espcially if you are thinking of filling it with something similar, which you can't. So instead of looking at the loss, how about make a list of all of the things you would like to do for yourself that you've never had the chance to do. Maybe take a course? Or join a writers group? Or take up art or another hobby? Or volunteer at the High School to mentor the students involved in the school newspaper? Join a cooking-circle where you make dinners and eat together once a month? Bring the dog and come to Wellfleet for a week off-season? Be creative and think about the next phase of life as unique and precious for you.

The kids will be back - as you know. (The higher the tuition, it seems, the less time they are actually in school!)

Love you,

Nelle said...

I remember how strange it felt as my son left my house that day....just months after this father had left. I had never lived alone and didn't know how I would handle it. The following months were like a healing balm for me. I discovered all kinds of things about myself that had been long forgotten. For the first time as an adult my choices were all made to suit me. The following year another man came into my life. My son and I have a wonderful relationship and I am so grateful for that time. I hope you will find some positives when you find yourself at this place...and besides you will still have your furchild. :)

Anonymous said...

Dearest Runni,

just before i came in today, i saw a pregnant woman on the street, and not yet having read this, for some reason thought of you, when you were pregnant, and that the next thing this woman would know that her child was college-bound -- i thought of you, and daytoday, meals, car rides...
that jerk who said pretentiouisly "those wretched children..." "Mom, what's wretched...?"
If your Mother could let you spread your wings and soar, so can you...besides they all can and will and do go home again!