On the first morning that I woke up all alone in my house I lay in my bed for a while and I could clearly remember bringing my youngest home from the hospital. It really does seem like just yesterday. How can I still remember the feeling, how he looked, and how exhausted I was those first couple of weeks? I can remember bringing Miranda home too, but I mention Seth because he's my baby and the last one to leave the nest. Almost two weeks ago he set out on the 1,600 mile road trip with his sister and father and I flew out to meet up with them in Brooklyn.
First we moved my daughter's things out of storage and into her dorm at LIU Post on Long Island. She's a senior this year. I got this gem of a photo of the three of us at LIU Post. My babies!
So now I'm alone and although I know it's not permanent until they are full blown adults, who don't come home for the holidays and summers, it's still Phase 1. It's also the first time I've lived alone in my entire life. How can that be?
Well, I grew up in a traditional Hispanic and religious home with older parents. I wasn't allowed to go away to college and even when they let me go to St. Petersburg, Florida to do a summer internship the stipulation was that I had to live with two older Jehovah's Witness women. So that wasn't really living alone, although the women were nice, didn't enforce a curfew, and I had my own private entrance to my room.
I lived at home, through college, when I started working, and until I got married at twenty-seven. I went from my parents' home to being a wife and then a mother. When I got divorced at forty-one I had two young children and not too long after that my elderly father came to live with me. Although we had reversed roles now that I was the caretaker, it was still my father and there's a dynamic in that relationship where you're never really the adult.
Here I am four years since my father passed away, and my kids are both in college. I went grocery shopping just for myself when I got back from New York and it was strange to only shop for one. Then I remembered that this was actually the first time I have ever lived alone, even if it's just for four months, until the winter break.
I also know that if my daughter ends up in medical school in Houston she will live with me again, so this new experience may only last for a year. I'm okay with that because it means my girl will be a doctor and that's way more important to me, because being a mother never ends. Of course if she ends up at NYU or Tulane that will be a different story and this adventure will continue. I just have to enjoy it while it lasts.
So what's the plan for this empty nest? Write, read, exercise, make art, go to readings, go to art exhibits, go out with friends more. The list goes on, but writing and exercising are my two main goals. I also want to create more art, like collage art and zine art, something I've really wanted to try.
Life is beautiful and I have a lot of time ahead of me to do the things I love.