My sincere apologies. It seems my head is stuck up my arse, and probably not for the first time, and likely not for the last time in my life. This time, it’s taking a bit more than the usual directive by my husband to “pull it out” to get it unstuck, though.
I should be happy. When I said that good things are happening for us, I meant it. Lots of good things. Some of which are that Shayne has another car of his own now. That’s awesome for him! I also have a new (to me) car now. It’s a Murano that I’ve been drooling over since they first rolled off the line. And she is perfect for me and I love her! So that’s good and exciting and positive. Vance passed his driver’s test today. And that’s where I get stuck.
I’m so proud of him. His brain is so unique and he is just the kind of person that it’s a real joy to know because the way he looks at the world is entertaining and enlightening and endearing. He’s an old soul. So when he figures out his way around the world with his special grace and dignity, it always leaves me in awe. It makes me so happy and so incredibly honored to be his mother. But um…
See, these boys that are making me so proud with all their new adventures and accomplishments? These boys have been my ride or dies for twenty years. For more than half my life. The best half, as a matter of fact. They have gotten me into all kinds of trouble and kept me out of at least that much trouble. They have been my comedic relief and the soundtrack of the past two decades. And, well, I’m lost without them.
So if “head up your arse syndrome” looks like a person who is so focused on themselves that they can’t see anything else going on around them, then I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description of me right now. I am feeling sorry for myself. I’m feeling lonely. I’m feeling afraid. What next? When I have to make up my own soundtrack, it’s gotta be more “Wicked” and less “Phantom of the Opera” if I’m going to survive. But I’ve never done well as a “one man band”. So what kind of music is going to flow from my life without my brass section and my strings section? Well you know what? As long as I have my head up my arse, all I can hear is the wind section. It’s not great music, but at least it’s not the terrifying silence of lonesomeness.
Much like grief, this abandoned feeling sneaks up on me without warning. The most unexpected things bring back memories and emotions that draw back and sock me in the gut hard enough to take my breath away. That, too, has been wholly unexpected. I would prepare myself if I knew the fight was coming. But this vexing little sorrow troll is a sneaky bastard. He gets his hits in before I can flex to ward off his blows. As when I jumped into my beautiful “new” car to run errands yesterday. I fastened my seat belt, started her up and checked my mirrors. I was amazed at all the room behind me. And then that gloomy little imp whispered to me, “All that room, that once would have been filled with giggles and questions, cheeseburger wrappers and brotherly considerations. All that empty room that goes on forever in silent darkness now. There’s no end in sight to all that room, is there?” And I feel sick, like I want to vomit and I have no idea who I am or how I am supposed to live my life without trying to wrangle my ducks into a row. I feel anxious and terrified and utterly deserted.
I always thought that we did the right thing by having the boys so early. I thought, “We’ll still be young when they are grown. We can still experience lots of fun things in life as a couple. Dean will be retiring and we can focus on each other. It’s perfect!” Or so I thought. Turns out, there’s a lot of living to do between getting the boys to the point of independence and retirement age. And I’m faced now with trying to figure out how to fill up that time. And I’ve got a few ideas. I am going to make a “Newlywed List” which is like a bucket list, but much less morbid sounding because I don’t really need more morbid right now. I’m currently producing enough of it to power an Italian funerary processional all by myself. So my more optimistically named “Newlywed List” will include all of those things that we didn’t have the time or money to do as newlyweds and can enjoy together now. I’ve also signed up for a photography class. Of course I have my writing, and I’m getting more reading done these days. My go to book of the moment is “Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester’s Soul”. I never thought I’d see the damned day…
I’m trying. I’m trying so hard to find my way through, over and around all of the pitfalls of this new phase of life. I’m determined to forge a fulfilling and beautiful path forward in one way or another. And I will enjoy old friends, and I will make new ones. But it will be different. And I’ll never have two better side-kicks, two better partners in crime, than the ones that Dean and I raised to be these amazingly talented, humble, well-mannered, creative, funny, wonderful young men. So if it takes me a while to get my head back on my shoulders where it belongs, I hope it’s understandable. I do wish that we had someone in our lives who had experienced this who could help to guide us through this maze of craziness. But we seem to be the first of our “group” to be letting go. Or at least it feels that way. On the positive side, they say that everyone’s story is meant to help someone else, so hopefully somewhere down the line this one will bring some hope and solace to silence someone else’s whispering, insipid little imp.
I wish I could keep anyone else from having to figure out how to unstick their heads some day. I can only assume that this is a part of the road that every man must travail if they chose the immense blessing of parenting. And for the moments I’ve shared with my sweet boys, I would bear this sadness a million times over because the joy they have brought me is a million times greater than any sadness can be. But a word to the wise. To make it worthwhile, do your best to hear your little ones when they speak to you. When they tell you about ladybugs and acorns, Disney princesses and silly songs, take it in. Ask them to expound on it. Sing along. Keep the tiny treasures pressed between the pages of a Bible. Laugh with them. Every chance you get, laugh with them. Because no matter how much extra money or time or “peace” you have once they are independent, there will never be anything that can match the worth of those moments. Those moments are what heaven is built on.
I’ve spent $100 on eye creams in the last month. I’m pretty sure if I don’t stop crying soon, I am going to look like my grandmother in another six weeks, so I have to get this under control. I asked my sweet boy with an old soul today, if he had one wish for me, as I begin this adventure in this new era of my life, what would it be. He said simply, “For you to be happy.” I’m gonna do that. I’m going to figure out just how to do that. For all the happiness that they’ve given me all these years, I owe them that. And come hail or high water, I’m going to give it to them.
Here’s to memories of back seat photo ops past, and hope for back seat photo ops future.