Last year, the day every parent either can’t wait for or dreads happened, I became an empty nester.
When my chids were just wee ones and I could barely grab a moment to myself, I had the age of 42 engrained in my mind. “42, you just gotta stay sane until 42, after that you can fall apart all you want” I can’t even tell you how many times I must have said that to myself. Let’s be honest, we love our children, we care for them, nurture them, teach them, and guide them …. but it can all be just a wee bit much from time to time, especially when you’re pretty much a single mom and your youngest won’t give you two minutes of peace even to go to the washroom.
First off, lets talk about the typo in the sentence above …. “chids” … its NOT a typo .. it’s a Tinaism …. I don’t do intentionally but my brain does this weird thing where it mixes two like words to create a new one. My family and friends are so accustomed to me doing it that they already know what I mean and just let me ramble on lol. Chids is clearly a mixture of children and kids … and came to be in my mind when I was trying to get one of my kids to go and play with the other children in the neighbourhood (and give me a break for the love of all things Holy!).
I was a young mum, 18 – a month away from turning 19, actually (somehow 19 doesn’t make it sound as much as if I was a baby having a baby). The pregnancy was clearly a surprise but I believe that fate and destiny have a way of letting things unfold … BAM and there she was my beautiful baby girl arrived on June 5 1993. I loved being a mom, she brought me such joy and was a super little smarty right off the hop. I knew this kid was going to be a brainiac. Although she loved playing Sailor Moon with her BFF, I would often find her reading books sitting on her little mini bed, playing school with our cat Buster, or learning manners from Barney. She was involved in soccer, chess, judo, dance, school activities. She played the trombone – dare I mention that when I came home from work the 1st day she got her trombone from school, I walked in the door and said “omg, it sounds like someone is killing a cat”. I walked up to the dining room …. it was my kid, my kid was killing the cat …. with her trombone – doh, motherhood fail! To be totally honest she didn’t excel at the trombone and switched to the alto sax. The sax wasn’t as bad …. it sounded more like she was killing a kitten lmao .. ok bad joke but true nonetheless. She actually improved a lot and ended up playing the sax one day with her great uncle Judd — we listened to them play and I beamed with pride. She excelled at Chess more than she did at soccer and definitely at judo. Before she decided it was no longer for her, she had reached a pretty decent level. She did fairly well at soccer – she played house league and made it to the finals one year – I was soooo happy for her. I went to every single game, concert, parent/teacher interview, event, function that I could.
I became a 2nd time mom at the age of 23. This one was my mommy’s suck and a bit of a tom boy. She loved to cuddle with me all day long and squish bugs with her bare feet in between 😂. I literally couldn’t get a moment of peace. Man, did she ever love me. She needed to be by me 24/7 (I wish she loved me that much now lol). I used to have to sneak out of the house to go and get groceries or have coffee with a friend. One time she was so upset that she caught me leaving that she hopped on a chair in the dinning room crying at the window and fell and smashed her face on the radiator – after that of course I stayed. I couldn’t even get two minutes of peace to go to the washroom, she would literally come in and talk to me like it was no big deal. She too was involved in soccer – she played Timbits Tim Hortons soccer – her first year she was 4, and let’s just say she wasn’t a fan – she picked posies and blew them and yelled out “booooorrriiiinnnnnnggggg, this is so booooorrrrriinnnnng” up and down the field …. while the play was in the other end zone and she was standing in her own end – by herself. She tried cross country for a season, volleyball, she too played the saxophone – for a little stint. But, no matter what she did or what she wanted to try, I drove her to every thing she participated in, went to all of her school concerts, parent/teacher interviews, and drove her to work (yes, even at 5:30 on SATURDAY and SUNDAY mornings).
Add to that all of their dentist appointments, orthodontists appointments, doctors appointments, drives to job interviews, rides back and forth to work, drives to friends houses, carpools, dates, movies, teaching them to drive etc.
Much of my time evolved around being a mom, a wife, then after the divorce – a girl friend, a full-time employee, daughter, sister and friend. The kids school work, their activities, their wants, their jobs were bi-proxy, my life too. Now, here I find myself at 42 with none of those things to preoccupy my time. It’s lead me to discovering who I am. Now that MY time is truly MY time. What do I enjoy? What are MY likes? What am I passionate about? What interests ME? WHO AM I NOW?
This has been a bit of a challenge over the last 7 months, since my youngest flew the coop. My two babies are now grown women and off starting their own lives. Like most parents, you hope that you’ve served them well and be sure to let them know you’re always there for support, but that this is their life now – go on now my little grasshopper 🙂
It’s never too late to be what you might have been – George Elliot
Things I’ve discovered:
1- Sleeping In and Liking It: First things first, I realized I actually like sleeping in a bit. I am notorious for having the worse sleep problems, can you say insomnia? I no longer have to get up at 6:00 AM to drive a kid to work. I can sleep in on a Saturday morning and get up at 9:00 AM and feel awesome!
2- Interior Design: I’ve always loved decorating and interior design, now I have more time to do more of that in our home and help some friends with ideas for their homes.
3- Express Yourself: I’ve also discovered a few months ago that I enjoy blogging – when I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist – blogging helps me with that. I can write about things that are important to me, or just things that I want to write about.
4- What Are Your Roots? I have a passion for genealogy. It’s my latest obsession. I’m deep into finding out my roots, where I come from. I’ve found out some really cool things about my ancestors. I’ll be writing a blog shortly about some of the cool things I’ve found out. Also very much in love with the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are?
5- Get Fit: Weight loss is also top of mind these days – being that I’ve gained 35 lbs in the last 1.5 years! I know right! (refer to my blog called Welcome to My Life). With my Fitbit and my super foods … I will succeed, and have fun in the process.
6- Binge Watching Shows: Admittedly, I binge watch TV shows these days (when I can) cause I can and it’s so super convenient. I just watched all of the seasons of Vikings, Blacklist and Call the Midwife. What are some of your faves? I ‘m looking for a new show to binge on.
7- Music: My life is music. I love music (refer to blog called Get Out The Covers) . If I had to lose cable or my iPod – buh bye cable. I love all kinds of music, all of the time. I just enjoy GOOD music whether Blues or Rap. My mission this year, get in more concerts … I think I’m going to write a list of all of the concerts I’ve been to and then see which one’s I really want to check out coming up.
8- Travel: We traveled when the kids were young, but given we were traveling with 4, we could only afford to travel with them once a year and then do some weekend excursions. I love to travel. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some pretty cool places in my years. But, I’ve never been to Europe or Asia and I wanna go … so I’m starting to plan …. We also just purchased a Boler, I’m so excited to start camping this summer.
9- Philanthropy: I’m not sure what exactly that I’d like to volunteer my time to, but I was thinking maybe at the hospital or at the senior’s home, Meals on Wheels? I’ve also been researching doing mission work in Peru.
So, although I miss my chids madly … most days …. I am learning, with my fiancé, how to spend a time focusing on me.
How are some of you out there coping with being an empty nester?