Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Us, again

In 2012,  our nest didn't empty but tipped over with the departure of our last two at once. It was a lot of things,  thrilling and disorienting, depressing and joyous to think of our house, empty. 
Drew, ready to go:

Honest people said, "It's scary, to be alone again."

"Pffft," I said. 

I was all about the glass half-full dammit, all about the positive changes we'd make. I reeled in the things we were, and folded them into the things we'd be. 

I understand now, that I didn't know what I was talking about three years ago.

I understand now, that those honest people were right. 

I understand now, that so was I. 


Two things happened this week that made me need to sit down. Sam turned eighteen, and Drew, only home from college until he found a job, found a job and moved out.

So, first, I am now the mother of adult children.  In those cheery, spontaneous conversations I start with strangers in line at the store, I can finally offer that, "My children are grown now, but when my son was that age...( here, I'll point to the toddler who is pulling candy bars off the display)... he used to slap me in the face when I made him sit in the cart."

Second, the last of the fledglings have flown. Nobody will live here again except for my husband and me. Things will change.

We'll use the space in the house differently - new office for him, new work out place for me. 

The laundry room, free of overflow clothes will be spacious enough for me to turn around without moving the ironing board. 

During those stretches when he travels, I will spend more time on my novel. 

We will follow through on all that we hoped would happen when we became this -   us again. We will plan things over the weekend breakfasts he prepares, a future of opening nights at Symphony Hall,  visits to kids in the near or faraway places where they will be filling their own nests.  

In our neater, quieter life, I expect I will notice how much has changed. I will think about how, after twenty-seven years of everything that happened, and everything that didn't, of long distance marriage and independence and individual growth, we are still climbing the same front steps together. I will explain observations like this, and probably compare our relationship to weather, or pool toys or paths in the woods, and if he thinks I'm tedious, he will be too gracious to say so.

That will be us, now. 

The fledglings four
While our family was in the making, I hoped we'd always be close as people, not because we were related and once lived in the same house,  but by choice. I hoped, that after they went in their own directions, our children would hunker down at home every now and then to connect with one another, by choice. 

I hoped they would know when too much time had passed and would connect via phone or text or FB messaging - by choice. I hoped that despite occasional falling outs, clashes of will, or silent stretches they would stay close to the people who would walk into traffic for them.

I hoped, after twenty-seven years of marriage, my husband and I would do the same thing.

Done, done, done, done, and doing.

Choices will pull at us at this time of  "my turn", and it is daunting to come back as new people to the ones who have known us forever. 

But it is liberating too, it is the only choice of many, to be us again.


  1. I keep wanting to bronze these posts; this one is particularly poignant and I applaud you for writing it.

  2. Thank you, DAW. Long time coming but easy to write when it came down to it.

  3. As someone who is starting to angst early (real early!) about my boys leaving your words sooth. They give me hope that when the time comes, I too will welcome the changes.

  4. And you will find CC, as I did, there are even more opportunities to grow than you imagined.

  5. I feel everything you are so eloquently expressing. I've gotten used to having adult children. With it comes so much - but the one thing I love most is a higher level of communication where I can actually ask THEM for advice and they can actually give me their very adult and unique perspective on things.

  6. That Sheryl, and the sense of humor they develop over the high school years...savvy, wry, whatever it is, it is one of my favorite things about adult children. And, I was delighted to see that while I missed that, after all our years together, my husband still cracks me up.

  7. Beautiful and poignant - much truth. Only now you can wait for the day when they marry and you won't be the only love of their lives. (oh wait, I was talking about me again...) I love the vision of walking up the steps together.
    I've tried to subscribe several times, it tells me my email address is invalid!

  8. Thank you! You're expressing so many of my feelings at sending off the youngest daughter to college (one month and counting of two-in-an-emptier nest). I am still waiting for the hubby to notice very much but since he works from home, I suppose he values the quiet house more than I do.

    We have reclaimed the lion's share of the silverware from kids' bedrooms (who knew we had all those spoons?) and discovered to our amazement that we really do still possess all the bowls from our stoneware set.

    Also, I can report that the bathrooms stay cleaner and only the shoes we leave on the living room floor and near the back door are visible these days. And for some reason, the house is is less dusty...? However, the dog has stepped up his shedding in sympathy so there is something to regularly clean up...

    Please keep sharing your perspectives on family and growing/nearly-grown/adult kids!

    1. Thank you Kathy A! It's an interesting, enlightening time, isn't it? And I'm sure you'll enjoy your new space and routines with all those shoes out of the way, too!

  9. I have absolutely no idea what it says about me I'm terrified of this and we have about eight years to go. I think I need to get kidnapped and get some new stories or immerse myself in a hobby :-)

    1. Carla, that is really funny. You'll probably be fine. Probably. Maybe. Definitely. It's kind of like righting the ship before you keep sailing.

  10. What a gorgeous piece of writing that tore at my heart. I've come to expect nothing less than that from you. Ah, children and the passage of time. My heart, oh my heart. Oh, our hearts! Lovely, Susan.

  11. Cathy, what a lovely compliment. And yes, rich we are for the experience of watching children grow up. They've made me a better person, without even trying.