I don’t know about you, but I had two relationships in my 20’s that were important, somewhat long-term, that should have upset me greatly when they ended, but did not. There was only relief! As the time for my younger son’s departure for college approached two years ago, I remember wishing that his leaving might follow that pattern: lots of anticipatory dread followed by a sweet sense of freedom. Alas.Watching my children come and go has not been like that.
Oh, there are compensations… the hallway not littered with 15 pairs of sneakers; the organized coat closet; less towels to wash; a revolutionized relationship with the fridge. I always know where the car keys are. These are not small things!
Then we adopted Finn. Adorable, lovable Finn. Hyper, sheddy, anxious Finn. It doesn’t matter, but I can’t tell if his role is to distract me from the empty nest or to ruin it.
There’s the constant vacuuming. A perpetual sense of disgust about our couch (the slipcover is always untucked and frequently dirtied with paw prints). Furthermore, his needs have kept me tethered to the house, so much so that I’ve taken to referring to last year as “My Year Under House Arrest” (compounded by all that snow here in Boston). Not exactly the ‘freedom of the empty nest’.
And then of course, there’s my sister.
Even so, my world has radically changed. It’s disorienting. Isn’t something dramatic supposed to happen — a good, long cry? a brand new sense of self springing off the shelf? the resumption of some old, long-missed sense of self? On the other hand, there is the abiding sense of normalcy: this, after all, is what is meant to happen.
These images were in a draft file — posts I keep plundering while our computer undergoes major overhauls. They still feel relevant, though, with that shadowy sense of things slipping out of my grasp. The figure looks determined, her pose intentional, but I cannot decipher her meaning, nor can I tell whether she achieves her purpose or not.
Perhaps she’s wearing ballet slippers and moving from first position to second position. Maybe she’s casting a spell. But mostly, I wonder if she is reaching out to hug someone who is not there.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed dancing my heart out to Uptown Funk this afternoon. It isn’t something I would’ve done with the kids upstairs, don’t ask me why.