Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Blog Home!

Hi there, readers! My writing has a new home. You can read my writing at I hope to see you there!

Photo credit: House 95 by jaci III via Flickr

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Has It Been a Year Already?

Once in a full moon, originally uploaded by Pandiyan.
I'm writing here at the suggestion of my fiancé. From time to time, I miss my son so much, I can't keep my chin up. When that happens, I do things like stay in bed all weekend, cry for hours and tweet morbidly depressing things.

I've stayed away from this blog because it reminds me that my empty nest transition wasn't the positive, uplifting experience I tried to make it. It reminds me that I miss my son and I'm not through letting go of the fact that I'm finished raising him.

I'm not ready to confront this every day. 18 months after he left for college, I still haven't accepted the fact that my son's childhood is over.

I don't get to raise him anymore. I don't get to stand on a lacrosse field three night a week cheering my head off and celebrating with his teammates' parents. I don't get to kiss him goodnight every night, or hug him goodbye every morning when I leave for work. I could go on.

I can't imagine I'm the only mom to take...a while to move through this transition. I'm sure I'm not the only one who cries seemingly endless tears from the center of her chest every few months. I wonder when it will stop. I wonder if I even want it to.

If I'm not the only one--and I suspect I'm not--why do I feel like I'm the only one? Do we just not talk about this because admitting that we can't let go all the way--or that it hurts when we do--is something we are ashamed of or afraid to talk about? And how in the hell do we manage to get things done if all of us have to stop every few months and put the weight down for an hour, a day, or an entire weekend?

The thing that triggered my tears today was a photo of my son and his friend and his friend's parents after a lacrosse game. I was looking at pictures of him from high school lacrosse and getting lost in them. I could feel the sweetness of those sunny summer nights after a game. I stopped at the one of him with his teammate and his teammate's parents and something took my breath away. I can't even tell what it was. Maybe it was how blissfully unaware everyone looked of the separation that was about to happen. I think I'm going to email a few of the moms from the team. Maybe they spend weekends in bed crying too. Maybe they want to talk about it over a glass of wine and some fancy-schmancy cheese.

Anyway, I should probably stop dwelling on this for now. I've managed to stop crying and I'm just solid blue right now. I just wanted to come back here and say what I said; wonder what I wondered. I guess it's a safe place for me to talk about this. I do feel bad about how infrequently I write here, but I shouldn't let that stop me from coming here when I really need to.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Empty Nest Discovery #39: No Need For A Grand Re-Entrance

chicago snow, originally uploaded by klz.
You may have noticed I haven't posted in a while. I have been planning a long, explanatory post as a come-back piece and I keep getting hung up on how perfect I want it to be. Meanwhile, this blog sits idle.

Today I went running in the snow--something I don't often do, for fear of slipping on the ice and breaking something and not being able to run when the weather is warm; and because I hate cold weather. While I was out there, I fell so in love with a moment, and I needed to share it with someone.

I woke up this morning, one of the last days of February, feeling as dreary as the patch of sky visible to me through my kitchen window. Nothing major, just tired of winter, missing the sun, missing my son, and feeling a little lonely in general. Long periods of low activity seem to get me down, and with that in mind, I stuck my feet into my running shoes, grabbed my ear buds, and slipped out the door.

As soon as I got outside, the flurries I'd seen from the kitchen window had turned into big, heavy, fast-falling flakes. I looked longingly back at my apartment while I accessed on my iPhone, and was tempted to head back inside, but when the first notes of Metric's The Police And The Private cut into the quiet of the scene, I was ready to run.

I started running down my street, still grumpy about the snow, the temperature, the dirty monotone of my snow-covered city and how very out of shape I'd gotten over the last few months. This was only my second run of 2011, and I was sure I'd spend most of it in anticipation of its conclusion.

I pushed through, like I always do when something is hard or unpleasant, and before I knew it two more songs had started and ended. Next up was Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton's Our Hell. I was about to skip ahead to the next song, because I thought I'd need something more upbeat to get me through the run, but I was just starting to warm up and get into a little running grove and I didn't want to mess it up by futzing with my iPhone, so I left it on.

Turns out it's a great song for running. I pushed up my shirt sleeves and tore down the street. My breathing was smooth and even; my stride was strong and steady; and my exposed forearms quickly became red from the wind. I looked up at the leafless trees and just then, I became aware of the feeling of those big, heavy snowflakes melting as they hit my hot skin, cooling the tiny streams of sweat that trickled over my temples, and in an instant, I understood why people run in the winter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Empty Nest Discovery #38: Madge, You're Soaking In It

Rocket Bar Wine, originally uploaded by Mr. T in DC.
I'm in a foul mood. Have been all day. Before 10 AM, I got so frustrated at work, I cried. CRIED. I never cry at work--hell, there are only a handful of people on this entire planet who have ever seen/heard me cry and today I cried at work. Yes, I'm somewhat mortified about that.

The day declined swiftly from there and I'm pretty sure the problem was half mine and half everyone else's (oh god, please tell me that wasn't all me). I tried to make myself a happier, nicer person today, but it seemed like I was just making things worse. Instead I continued to make a mess of my day, executing tasks without heart and snarling at at least two people who deserved my patience and attention instead.

On my way home, I was writhing inside, trying to buck up before I reached my apartment, and then I remembered--there was no one there. I was free to be as miserable and as lousy as I pleased.

I wasn't sad to be returning to an empty apartment--I was relieved. It was a comfort to know I could finally be alone with my angst (yes, apparently 38-year-olds get angsty), frustration and mean reds. Just me and my shitty mood, and my impolite thoughts and my ugly, unreasonable feelings and fears--all of us indulging each other here. That's right, I'm listening to Le Tigre and drinking wine in my underwear. You want to make something of it?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Empty Nest Discovery #37: A Chip Off The Old Block

Red Block, originally uploaded by Uwe Hermann.
My son is coming home for another visit this weekend. He texted today to inquire about such things as the weekend's menu, a hair appointment, laundry services (no dirty dishes this time), and social activities. We spent about a half an hour syncing up our schedules so that we could both spend time with each other and still have time to see our friends too.

While it's true, I go bananas missing the kid every day, I don't expect him to come home and hang out with me all weekend--that would be weird. And I love that he's got a bunch of friends he cares about and likes to hang out with.

While I was raising him, I payed special attention to fostering social confidence--probably because it's the trait that I worked the hardest to develop in myself and found most rewarding. It's nice to see that he enjoys a happy, healthy social life too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Empty Nest Discovery #36: This Here Guitar's Not Going To Play Itself

Guitar #1, originally uploaded by grange85.
I haven't played guitar in 10 years. Every now and then, I feel something that I can't articulate with words alone and I want to pick up my guitar, but it's been so long, and I'm so out of practice, I know I wouldn't be able to make it say what I'm feeling, so I leave it sit.

Recently, I took my guitar out and set it up in the middle of my living room so that I would have to look at it every day. The hope was that I would eventually pick it up and play it.

Today I did. From the sounds I made, you wouldn't have guessed that I ever played. It was horribly frustrating. The feelings I want to express are so much more sophisticated than my guitar-playing ability (if we can call it that). Looks like me and that guitar are going to have to get reacquainted.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Empty Nest Discovery #35: Did I Really Just Make A Marathon-Life Comparison?

DSC_0264, originally uploaded by lloyd89.
So, yeah. The marathon. I finished it. It was hot, and lots of people had a rough race. I especially had a rough race, but I finished.

While I was in the corral waiting to start I heard a song that triggered a memory of me ten years ago. I was in my car driving home from work and said song (a very sappy, cheery song) came on the radio. I started bawling because I was not cheery at all. My life was a complete mess, and about to get messier, and I couldn't see a day when I wouldn't wake up feeling like there'd been an atomic blast in my chest.

If you had told me then that not only would I stop hurting so much, I'd even feel good most of the time; and that I would figure myself out and still like me most of the time; and that I would be standing with 45,000 other people waiting to run 26.2 miles, I'd have thought you were either foolish or insincere. But there I was, staring at the starting line, feeling extra proud to be there.

When the race was over, I started thinking about that memory again and how that time in my life was sort of training for the mental part of the marathon. Just like the race, there were times in that awful era when things were too hard and didn't want to try any more, and worse still times when I didn't think I could try anymore. But yesterday when the weather was kicking my ass all over the course, I stopped for a second and asked myself what I had to do if I wanted to have any chance of finishing and decided that was something I wanted to do and something I could do. It took me a little longer than I had imagined, and it wasn't pretty, but I made it.