Yes, I'm still alive. I made it though the first week. The first week of returning to work with 24 grade fours, and the first week of being empty nesters. I'm physically exhausted by the end of the day. I had a hoarse voice by the end of the first day. I stopped crying intermittently a couple of days ago.
Honestly, I'm not a super cry-ie person generally. I have always believed in raising children to become independent, responsible, capable human beings. But here's the deal - having the second (and last) "child" move out of the house was a whole different ball game. I turned into this ridiculous sappy mess leading up to the day he went away to college. I held it together on moving day until the very end when we hugged to say goodbye, then I started and then my daughter looked at me and started. I made sure we were outside the college entrance, off to the side, so as not to embarrass son, not that he knew anyone anyway. I don't mean I was a sobbing, bawling mess, clinging on him and wailing away, but my face was screwed up and there were some tears.
Then two days after that, daughter moved back to her university city. Not as many tears, because we've been down this road before with her. She'll be fine, she's established there, has friends, knows the score.
The next morning, as I was going through my routine, getting ready to go to work, I found myself in son's room - just standing there, taking in the nineteen-year-old-young-man essence that still hung in the air. I resisted texting him that morning!
Daughter, of course, texted the next day to show that there is now a cat living in the house she rents part of. Nice! Then texted about getting into a course that she didn't think she'd get into to, but there was one opening left, and she did. Then texted to show she was eating one of the muffins I had sent her away with (homemade - zucchini chocolate chip - made with love - yes, son got some, too).
Then, it wasn't until a couple of days later that I started to realize I now have another drawer in the bathroom. I do not have to shift and balance my way through four different bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, god knows what else... in the shower. There is an extra bed I could go to if husband's snoring gets to the "I want to smother you with a pillow" stage. And when I go grocery shopping tomorrow, the list will be considerably smaller. These aren't necessarily observations of "better", just different.
The whole getting back to work thing? To use an over-used phrase, it is what it is. It is what I do as a profession, I've done it before (30 years of it) and I'll do it one more time, and then that's it. It's a new group of students, we'll established routines, we'll work our way through the curriculum, we'll deal with all that is eight to nine year olds. We've already had our first staff meeting, we have "Open House" (formerly known as Meet the Teacher or Meet the Creature) this coming week. These make for long days when your body is just getting used to standing all day long and your throat is getting used to talking all day long and you're reminding yourself that patience is a virtue.
We are now just the two of us. But our conversations still often revolve around the kids. Today we are off to a little Fall Fair where we will see a display of my aunt's artwork. She died a little while ago and her daughter is putting on a display at a fair that is the "hometown" of her mom's youth. We will see my siblings, as we are all doing a bit of a jaunt to go there and enjoy looking at her paintings again. After, we will visit with my childhood friend and her husband, who are also now empty nesters, but not quite as much, as their son lives just down the road with his wife and new baby.
Time now to read some of your blogs and catch up on your lives.