– read new blogs Mondays and Thursdays.
Okay – NOW I have an empty nest. We also have four renovated bedrooms, a real cool third bathroom, a big back porch perfect for four ‘kids’ backpacks and their skate board/ runner/flip-flop/high heel/ shoe collections, a window seat that didn’t exist before, which would be just the spot for writing that last last minute essay, or curling up to text a dozen friends.
The renovation started in my denial stage. I insisted that we still needed a house that would accommodate four kids, or three anyway (the eldest had lived away for four years when the bobcat arrived and the deconstruction began). The other three were just away at universities – it doesn’t count as having moved out if we still paid their rent, right?
Now another September has started with no one to drive to school. I always said I didn’t want to taxi them, but despite a lack of conversation during the morning car ride, I liked that time in the car, forced to decipher their hip hop CD while they ate peanut butter toast (the girls) or drank protein powder and milk (the boys). I’d drive them, and then I’d go for a quick workout at the gym. I knew the renovation had ’caused’ a relapse from exercise that didn’t involve sprinting around Home Depot, but was shocked (shocked!) to learn when I returned today, feeling a little thick around the middle, that according to their membership records I dropped out seventeen months ago.
So another September finds me back to pumping iron (well more like sloppy sit-ups) but with no young adults and their peeps hanging out on the front lawn after classes, nobody raiding our fridge, playing pool in our basement, or annoying our neighbours with their rap tunes. Five o’clock to seven o’clock is the worse. It’s too freaking quiet here. I’ve got to do something about that. (Yesterday I was interviewed to volunteer to cuddle the babies of teenage moms – I’ll blog you about the scariness of that soon.)
We are a family of six. Their dad was rarely home in time to accommodate eating before piano lessons, or musical theater rehersals, football games, or math tutoring. No problem. I cooked for six anyway – on cold nights I’d roast a chicken and vegetables, or perhaps in the afternoon I’d put a beef stew on. When I was less inspired it was spaghetti or butter chicken – cheating on the butter part with a little package to get it going. In a rush there were always wraps or a saucy stir fry. (note to Hudson – second son- there is some literary license involved here – I did cook nice meals sometimes. I’m certain of it.)
When Zoe moved away for university there were still five of us. You cook for five. The winter Cole took off for Whistler there were four of us left here. That would be the average family – a parent or two, and a couple of kids – you still had to cook. The September that Hudson started university in Victoria and it was just Will, Lily and I, I realized my cooking minimum – it was a number we didn’t have anymore. Three people were – well, just three people, sort of like a holiday in my mind. “Hey, there are just the three of us – let’s order a pizza, or hunker down in front of the TV with sushi from that place we like.”
So here it is September 29th and Will and I are eating grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner for the second time in two weeks. We’re two adults. We get hungry (hec, I worked-out for the first time in a year and a half). We require sustenance. But who cooks for two people? I mean, what’s the point? Clearly, I need help. It’s essential that I look at this empty nest ‘ordeal’ more closely. Having had those four kids earlier than the majority of our peers we were the first to navigate those parenting stages. We’re close to a least a dozen families still deep in all of it, coming up behind us. I’m in transition, I say. But clearly, I’ve got some figuring out to do if I’m leading the way here. I’ve got to take a break from text stalking my kids and figure out how this happened and where it is taking me.