Flying the Coop
by Tanya Rapp
I’ve been trying hard not to think about the fact that come September, I’ll be an empty nester. I keep myself busy during the day, enjoying this time with the kids during their summer break, but late at night, as I try to fall asleep, I can think of nothing else. Well, almost nothing else, if you don’t count the hot flashes.
I don’t recall being this affected when my older one went off to school. I suppose it was because the younger one provided a buffer. But now, as I prepare to get my daughter ready for school, it has hit me hard. And I don’t mean a light slap. We’re talking a Rocky Balboa punch to the gut.
I am generally a positive person, so I am trying my hardest to look at the bright side. Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby. Maybe I’ll read more books and learn a new language or brush up on an old one. Maybe I’ll take up serious cooking or join the local garden club. Maybe, as my husband hopes, I will get a j-o-b.
My husband and I will certainly have more time to ourselves. It’s been years since it’s been just the two of us. Maybe we’ll be one of those couples that takes leisurely walks around the neighborhood, holding hands and making plans. I don’t remember the last time we said the words “table for two”.
As my daughter recently finished up her most recent school year, I noticed the varying reactions of the parents at graduation. Sadly, some were dreading the summer with their kids and very much looking forward to the fall. Others, like me, were unsure about this next step.
I’ve been a stay at home mom since my older one was born. A job I have thoroughly enjoyed (mostly!) and feel I’ve done well at (mostly!). But now, as my daily Mom duties will go from full-time to part-time, I’m faced with the fact that I am entering unchartered territory.
I’ve been so focused on the kids for so many years that I don’t even know how to acclimate. I believe it’s called separation anxiety. And maybe a touch of phantom limb syndrome. I am excited for my younger one as she enters this new phase of her life, but what exactly does it mean for me?
I’m in my forties (did I just say that out loud?) and I didn’t really have an established career before the kids came along. I’ve been able to dabble in some part time jobs working from home just to keep my brain in tip top shape (not entirely successful), but come fall, I will certainly have enough time to return to full time employment. It’s time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
When I bring the topic up with my husband, I am often met with some light teasing and a couple of eye rolls. Clearly, he is not having the same experience. As a Dad, he’s done a great job (no really…he has), but it’s completely different for him. While having kids was life changing, it was not really schedule changing. Life as he knows it will not be all that much different.
My husband definitely feels like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I don’t know. Maybe I’m making more out of this than most. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, But Kindergarten? Yeah. It’s kind of a big deal.
This post is written by guest blogger, Tanya Rapp. Find more of Tanya at http://suburbanmomism.blogspot.com/ Read my take on becoming a mom to a kindergarten student in my article “On Kindergarten.”