Last couple weeks have been a doozy. The world around me is changing, evolving, getting erratic and I’m trying to hold on without being flung into the Phantom Zone to wallow in my own self-pity. I’m not all that good with change. I like to find a groove and allow that groove to play out for as long as possible. I like consistency. I like content. I like schedules that stay the same. This is not the case for April/May of 2022 at the homestead. It’s a little chaotic, a little lonely, and very unpredictable.
Our oldest graduates from college in two weeks. This is a great thing. An accomplishment that she worked hard for and her mom and I are very proud. Instead of getting her Masters in Library Sciences she wants to get some experience in working in a library first, so she’ll be working part-time at a library not far from our house. She’ll also be working at the same place she’s worked the last two summers, at a boat rental place. This means she’s moving back home for a bit, living in her old room that is pretty much unlivable at the moment. My wife turned it into a sewing room, so our daughter’s bed is covered in fabric, while a large table is taking up the rest of the room with the sewing machine and everything else my wife needs to make quilts.
So we have two weeks to relocate the sewing items and get the room back to a state of livable space. Somewhere our daughter will be comfortable for the time being. This may sound like not that big of a deal, but it’s more of an issue than you’d think. We need to rent a dumpster and start throwing garbage out that should’ve gone years ago. This will free up space, but my wife’s not that great at letting stuff go. Me? I’ll toss it in a heartbeat if it’s not being used and has no real emotional/practical value. I’m always ready to make space for new and useful.
Our second oldest is also making plans for a move, but out of the house. She went to college last fall but decided college wasn’t for her. She wanted to just come home and work and save up money. Figure out what she wanted to do in the interim. Good plan. So she’s been working and hanging out with some friends and her boyfriend. Her schedule is all over the place, so she’s in and out of the house at weird hours. Coming home around midnight, waking the dog who then wakes me up. It’s fine. We told her she needed to be home by midnight on weeknights and she does, but the dog is gonna do the dog thing and bark and run out to the living room to meet her. Of course I also suffer from that thing where if someone is out late I can never truly rest until I know they’re home. You know, paranoia.
We’re happy she’s going to take the plunge and get out on her own, but that doesn’t come without some bittersweet feelings. We’ll miss her. Not that we’re seeing a ton of her anyways, but that’s not the point. It’s that even with her being home and constantly busy, we still get to see her now and then. Living nearly an hour away makes it almost certain she’ll be absent for large swaths of time. And she’s not the greatest with time management to begin with, so who knows how that will all turn out.
Lastly our son has gone head first into the working world. Not that we’re upset with this. We’v been pushing him to find a job for a year now, ever since he got his license. It did turn out well that the job thing held off for a year. With Band and school, a job would have been hard to juggle. But now with his junior year nearly over getting acclimated to working and having school responsibilities has come in handy. He should be able to balance those out next fall.
The bad part is that he’s working nearly every weekend till 9:30/10pm. By the time he’s home the wife and I are heading to bed. We don’t get to spend much time at all with him anymore. The weekend movie marathons or just heading out for a couple hours to look at guitars or comic books is all but gone.
This all sounds like a lot of whining over nothing, I know. To someone on the outside this all seems like the natural progression of the parent/child relationship. But this is the last time we go thru this progression. There are no more kids still at home waiting to get older. My wife and I are looking at the empty nest thing like it’s just a year or two away. That is reality. Time is moving and there’s not a damn thing we can do. I know a lot of people dream of this, getting the house back and getting that office you always wanted. But I’d honestly take another year or two with my kids in those ages between 10 and 15, where they’re old enough to be funny and also find my jokes funny. That ages where carry-out pizza and some video rentals are the best thing since sliced bread. Or a two hour drive north to the lake shore is like a mini vacation. We can’t get those back, and it’s really bumming me out.
If this were a therapy session I think we’d come to the conclusion that this has a lot to do with control. Not having that control and eagle’s eye on my kids is a lot for me to deal with. Every one of them are out and about in the world, making their own decisions and taking their lives into their own hands. Old dad isn’t there guiding them or offering advice. I mean sure, I’m there at home and available whenever they need me, but I’m not in the car with them double checking for oncoming traffic for them. Or with them when someone offers a joint or alcohol at a friend’s house. It’s those flights away from the nest when they’re soaring with predators and danger that get me. I’m sure my parents went thru this as well and I turned out okay. A few stupid decisions here and there, but I did okay.
I guess I have to give my own kids the benefit of the doubt, but it’s not easy.
This past weekend was my wife and I sort of dealing with all of this. We spent Friday night out to dinner at a waaay more expense restaurant than we’d ever typically go to. In fact, Friday night was a once every decade kind of meal. We won’t spend that kind of cheddar again on a meal for a long time, but it felt great. Then Saturday we drove north up to Three Rivers, MI to pick up some homemade brats at a meat market we found on vacation last October. We also stopped for some provisions at a dispensary. I mean, why not? In my older age I’m finding some solace in the occasional dabble in THC. As my nerves get frayed the older I get, an edible here and there has proven quite therapeutic.
To each his own.
Mother’s Day was nice. I grilled said brats, as well as some chicken thighs for my wife, mom, and dad. Potato salad, crab meat salad, and some baked beans were also on the menu. It was a nice afternoon, except for the sunburn on my scalp, but it was worth the pleasant afternoon.
My wife took today off and drove three hours to see our oldest. She needed to see our soon to be college graduate for some personal solace. She also wanted to take her dress shopping for her graduation that’s coming in two weeks. I decided to stay home today as well and do some reflecting. And also pull out the old Minidisc Recorder and see if it still worked(I’ll fill you in on another post.)
So there’s that. Still dealing. Still processing. Figuring it out a little at a time.