Countdown 

The kids (and their parents) are enthusiastically counting down the days until finals are over and summer vacation can begin. Okay, truthfully, the parents are probably a bitmore enthusiastic   than the kids…they’re in the midst of studying and writing papers and presenting research. They’re exhausted.  But we are all ready for this semester to end and to get to spend some time together relaxing. 

   
 

   
    
   
Tonight is Clay’s Capstone presentation, where he (and his group) will present their research findings. 
  
Paige managed to squeeze in a bit of free time with her roommates and they took a day off to go paddle around the Rez – a mental health day! 

   
   
Tim and I are driving over to Tallahassee this weekend to get Paige (mostly) moved out of her dorm. And then, in less than a week I’m going to have my kids back. I can’t wait! We are planning a quick getaway to spend some time together before summer jobs (and classes, for Clay) begin. And then, in July, Paige will be heading to Paris to study French for the month. 

But for now….I just can’t wait to get my kids back. At least for a little while. 

Alone again, naturally

Clay is back at his apartment, working almost every evening and has been doing sampling and getting ready for classes for start back up next week. Tim is back at work. And yesterday Paige headed back to Tallahassee for her spring semester at FSU. We tried to cram as much family time as we could into these last few days…the kids spent time together on the beach while I was making Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day, and we watched movies, and Tim enforced family bonding time via “car washing/waxing togetherness,” and we took walks on the beach and found lots of shark’s teeth, and Paige snuggled with Jack, and she and I binge watched Nashville and Boston Legal…

   
    
    
    
    
   
But eventually the day came when I had to say goodbye. And the once full house is empty once more. 

   
    
    
 

 

   
 
  
It’s quiet now. I made the mistake of going up to Paige’s room to clean, which just made me sad. So I decided to take a pajama day and snuggled under warm blankets and read and drank hot tea because it was freezing out (okay, okay, it was in the 50’s. But my toes were cold.💁🏻) and I didn’t feel like going out. 

Today, I’m trying to clean a bit. And do some organizing. Although…honestly, my fuzzy, warm blanket is looking very inviting. And a cup of hot tea sounds really good…

Empty Nest. For Real. 

This past week has flown by. I absolutely hate how fast this time has gone by. I have two more days with Paige before we load everything up in the cars and make the trek over to Tallahassee to get her settled into her tiny little dorm room. 

It’s weird…I think Tim is fine. But I’m feeling, honestly, just a tiny bit panicky about leaving her there – in spite of our “practice run” for six weeks this summer. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through this before and know, no matter what, things will never be quite the same again. Oh, she’ll come home…and she has her bedroom and all her stuff here, but it just won’t be the same. And of course, there’s the fact that Paige is my “baby” and my buddy, and the constant worries about sexual assaults on college campuses and whether she is eating right and getting enough sleep…

When Clay left for college, I still had Paige at home (and also, the Chinese exchange student. But let’s not talk about that. 😏) This time, our nest is truly empty. For the first time in 21 years I will have time to myself, time to be “Lisa” instead of “Mom,” and I have absolutely no idea what to do with that. Honestly, I don’t even know anymore who I AM if I’m not “mom!”

For 21 years my life has been filled with taking care of these little human beings we brought into the world. From changing diapers to preschool and play dates to arranging birthday parties and sleepovers and then to driving them to gymnastics, soccer, ballet, Taekwondo. For many years, I was driving Paige 45 minutes to an hour, each way, to her dance lessons, 5 days a week…plus back and forth for rehearsals for various performances. I spent many, many weekends on the road driving with Clay to Taekwondo competitions around the state, and dance competitions with Paige. I nagged them about homework and about keeping their rooms clean and writing thank you notes and about brushing their teeth. I encouraged them to work hard and to read and to take challenging courses. I taught them to say sir and ma’am and please and thank you and to chew with their mouth closed and that if they couldn’t say anything nice, they shouldn’t say anything at all. 

I had a full time job, being mom. And now, what? I’m retired?

This just feels weird. 

And I feel weepy about that. I blame my hormones. 

I have plans. I do. I want to take a photography class and also another stained glass class. Tim and I want to travel. And I will do all those things…as soon as I get this piece of dust out of my eye, and blow my nose…

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

    
    
 

Learning to live with an empty nest…

Paige is now ensconced in her dorm room for the summer, learning to live with a roommate, and sharing a (teeny-tiny) bathroom with three other girls. It’s a lot of change. 

She’s having to learn to share her space, but also to speak up for herself (such as when someone had the lights on until 1:00 am and Paige had an early class…). She likes her classes, so far. She’s taking Introduction to International Relations and Environmental Science. She’s found a couple of old friends already, from her old high school and from elementary school. 

   
   

   
       

I’m not going to lie – it was very hard for me to say goodbye. I’m so filled with conflicting emotions. I’m excited for her, and worried about her (have you SEEN the statistics on sexual assaults on college campuses?), and proud of her…and I miss her. A lot. 

   
   

But I know she’s going to have fun and make amazing friends and fabulous memories. 

Tim and I have been kind of enjoying the peacefulness of our new home. We miss the kids, of course, but the no-drama, no-bickering, serenity is, truthfully, rather nice. It’s quiet and mellow and calm. We’ve just been relaxing and sleeping in and reading…and taking walks on the beach.