Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Empty, Empty Nest…

Reflections of a Single Mother

It’s a busy hectic work day as usual around my office (my kitchen table/will explain laterJ). Youngest daughter needs money for food before basketball game. Cell phone blowing up, email inbox pinging me.  Lingering thoughts about the conversation (argument) that I had with my older daughter last night. Trying my best to get through this yoga workout before anyone realizes I’m not actually online working yet… Workout finished, now trying to blend a smoothie and load a pod in the Kuerig® to make a cup of coffee at the same damn time. Email pings again, bang out quick response.  Multi-tasking at its best… wait cellphone chirps and vibrates simultaneously… special notification set up to let me know my daughter needs me.  I stop everything I’m doing to read her message, you know because everything she does is the most important thing that I have going on…let her tell it.

The message reads: “I just enrolled in the R2I2 Charter School Program for next year.  They have the mechanical engineering classes I need for college and I needed to register by January 30th.  I hope you don’t mind.” No thoughts [replace "thoughts" with expletive of choice...] given as to how she is going to get to the R2I2 program which is outside of her school district and she has no car.

Now my first instinct was to fly off the handle and tell her butt, no you are not.  I was about to let her have it for trying to add more to my already hectic schedule of working a full time job, teaching at night to make sure she has everything she needs, shuttle her around to basketball practice, games and other school events… But then it really hit me how I was totally missing the bigger picture.  I was totally floored for a minute, as I realized, my baby just made a life altering decision on her own that may affect her future drastically… My 16 year old is growing up so fast.  She not only is making her own decisions, she is making great decisions for herself. Which leads me to another awakening.  I have been a single mother of two daughters for a long time and have become so accustomed to ripping and literally running myself ragged, that it just hit me in this very instant that in less than 2 years, I am going to be an empty nester.  I am not sure how to feel about this.

So now, I find myself in front of my computer with tears in my eyes.  Tears of joy, not sure.  Tears of sadness, also not sure - just feeling some kind of way.  It is one of those moments that I am truly grateful that I work from home, because I absolutely hate to see people cry at work.  Not that I am heartless or cold, I just don’t know what to do for them.  Usually my queue to exit stage left as quickly as possible…

I am sure that I am not the only single mother who is faced with not knowing what to do about this “empty nester” thing. We work so hard for our kids because we want the best for them and know that we have to work doubly hard to play both roles, mother and father.  You know, most of our lives are so centered on making sure our kids are ok, that we rarely stop to think that one day the hustle won’t be so pressing. HELP!! Somebody out there help me understand these emotions.  What have you done or are you doing to prepare for the moment when you no longer have to rip and run for them, cook for them, shop for them, yell at them…? 

Not sure I'm ready....

Cherlyn McIntee