Pages

Saturday, 7 September 2019

After the First Week...

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.

49 comments:

  1. Jenn, I am almost crying, tears in my eyes now. My heart kind of hurt reading about your mommy pain. I saw a little plaque on someone's blog < sorry can't remember. It said, "A mother's job is to teach her children not to need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success."..I sent it to my daughter who texted back, I still want my mommy. LOL. My Angie's class has 27 kids. Blessings to you sweet girl, xoxo, Susie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susie! What grade is your daughter teaching this year?

      Delete
  2. Oh I remember when my youngest left to join the Navy back in 2004. He was 19. That was a hard year for me but as he grew into his new life, I did as well. The previous year 2003, my oldest son died unexpectedly at age 25. Then my middle son moved out. Those were some hard years for me.

    Now, I am entering a new season...my husband retires in Dec. I used to do daycare in my home and I was a nanny - all total 30 years devoted to other people's kids. I used to talk about the "ages and stages" of child development. Well its like that for us, too. As we get older, we go through these ages and stages and we get tougher.

    Hugs to you as you go through this life stage. It will get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment and insight, Debby. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Yes, I suspect as I get used to things, it will get better. -Jenn

      Delete
  3. I went through this quite a while ago (my "baby" is 37) byt I remember....Something sweet is over, but good things lie ahead, too. Be well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that's the thing - this is his next step which will lead him to his goal, something we'd never hold him back from.

      Delete
  4. Hello from Alberta. Lovely blog :) Thanks for sharing. My "babies" are 36 and 35 :) cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Yes, they're still our babies, even at that age.

      Delete
  5. I only almost know how you feel as Mr 22 didn't go away to uni. I'm sure I would have been a huge bawling mess. Your first week back at work sounds like mine and I've been sat here sneezing - their germs have got me already! This year will zoooom by and top parenting kudos to you xxx bloody kids growing up on us like that....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, I've been washing my hands like crazy - trying to put off the inevitable transference of germs!!

      Delete
  6. Some leave to soon, others need a humongous shove to get them launched!
    You are brave going back to work like that..well done you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No choice about going back to work, really - but the end is in sight.

      Delete
  7. I have a friend whose son and daughter in law decided to home school their children, now aged nine and kindergarten. The youngest has no preschool experience, and is not socialized. My friends is distraught. Education is such a building block by building block experience. Neither parent is qualified. It's all quite sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I probably can't (shouldn't) comment on home schooling, but I wouldn't recommend it, purely for the socialization aspect.

      Delete
    2. Our daughter, being raised as an only child, definitely NEEDED the socialization public school offered. Besides that, my husband was a teacher in the same elementary school so when it came to thinking about home schooling I decided one teacher in the family was quite enough. To adequately home school I believe you have to be very dedicated to the job and ultra-conscientious. Not all parents are qualified.

      Delete
  8. My youngest left the nest to attend an arts focused school in another city at 15. That was really rough, but her sisters were already at post secondary in the same city and my sibs and father were close by. It STILL ripped my heart out, 😢

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's been years since my two left home (they are 37 and 31) but both moved back in with me 10 years ago. One is still with me, though having my son here makes life easier for me...and we get along well.

    Sorry, I laughed at your daughter texting you. My daughter calls, texts or messages me at least 3-4 times a day. When my son lived away from home I called him every week or so...sometimes he answered.

    As you say, neither is better just different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh they are very different, the two of them! Had to cut a phone call short with daughter yesterday because we were visiting with other people. Had a brief text reply from son answering a question we had for him. :)

      Delete
  10. I can't say I know how you feel as I will never be an empty nester. We still have daughter at home. She is nearly forty and determined years ago that she would never leave home. We get tiny glimpses of what it would be like when she goes away with friends for weekends and it is nice but I'm not sure I would like it permanently.
    Hugs-x-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every family is different. It certainly wasn't uncommon years ago, for grandparents, for example, to still live with the family, or for the youngest daughter to remain to stay and look after the parents.

      Delete
  11. Your jaunt to the fair sounds like it will be a good antidote, catching up with family and enjoying the festivities. I remember standing in a fudge shop on Mackinac Island with my cousin after her son left for college a few days before. She wanted to send him fudge (because that's what people who visit Mackinac Island do) and when she went to give them his address she broke down in tears and her husband had to finish up. But finding the extra drawer, extra bed is all good! After both boys were at college for a year or so, Rick turned their bedroom into his office -- why pay rent for another site when there's a room in the house? So, good and bad. But I get it. A big change. Hang in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daughter keeps coming home to work during the summers, so we can't change her room over. Of course, it's too soon for son's. The fair and the visit was nice - good way to "get out of my head".

      Delete
  12. Hi Jenn :) Your tears are tears of love. Sorry you are feeling sad about being an empty nester. I can't believe you're back at work already. I feel like you just celebrated the summer off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It always feels like "I can't believe I'm back", but weather-wise it definitely feels like it's fall!

      Delete
  13. Glad to hear that your school year started well. I can only imagine that mixed bag of feelings in regards to your son leaving for school. Are noticing that your daughter texts (contacts) more than your son? vive la différence ... Mary-Lou =^..^=

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he's more of an introvert and she tells us about things in detail.

      Delete
  14. Reading this reminded me of the day my daughter (our only child) moved out to college. Like you I also held it together, but the "big cry" came actually a few days later. This is three years ago now, this is her last year at college and she's already thinking of moving (back) to Germany next year. She is very independent and I have my own life here, but it still hurts every now and then and my heart is breaking over and over again.
    I like the way you're writing - beautiful and so easy to imagine what you describe. I found you through Jeanie's blog (Marmelade Gypsy) and I'm glad I did.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is really bittersweet when that last 'child' leaves the house. Of course, we had a couple of them "come home" for short periods of time when life threw some curves their way unexpectedly...and that was fine. However, by then, I was well used to "just two" so it was much easier to see them leave when their lives shifted again.

    You will get used to it--and it is good. I went back to work full-time and told my son a few more months and I want to be done. I am looking forward to some 'me' time!

    Have a wonderful week- you can do this and I know you do "it" well. xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, you are still working full time now? You'll be happy of the down time.

      Delete
  16. Wow! Thirty ears! Congratulations! I hope you have a good class. Don't worry about being an empty nester. Before you know it, grandchildren.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, no no no. Not yet! Time enough after they finish school, get established in their careers, get married...

      Delete
  17. I have to agree with "before you know it, grancchildren." After that, you'll never be lonely or bored again. There's babysitting, visits, babysitting, visits, etc. And if you are very lucky, there will be great grabndbabies. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't believe we ever get to the stage when we go through the different phases of life. Some are good, some not so good. But as vibrant, living human beings we adjust as well as we can. And sometimes are surprised to find the new phase is quite enjoyable.

    You'll be facing another phase when you "retire" next year. That may feel even different than being an empty nester!

    You never stop being a mom. Their needs are just different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the mom thing is a lifetime job - happy to have that position!

      Delete
  19. Congrats Jenn on 30 years!! And also congrats on your empty nesterhood. It takes some getting used to but once you and your hubs find your new rhythm it starts to be kind of fun.Kind of like finding that empty drawer. Good luck with your class. I'm sure they love you!!
    I'u

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? There are days when I feel like I still don't know enough, or have it all figured out.

      Delete
  20. Good luck on the school year, Jenn, and while you will still miss your son and daughter being home full-time, their visits and holiday times will be joyful.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My sister taught 4th grade up until this spring. She found that it wasn't fun any longer - teaching for the testing, as she said - and retired early. I don't think that people realize that teaching is a difficult job, both physically and mentally. I hope that you and your husband get to enjoy the newness of two. I'm sure your son and daughter will be back home as often as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've been retired now 3 years, and there are still many mixed emotions at the beginning of September. I had to retire for medical reasons, so I wasn't quite ready and that probably is part of it. I do miss the children and the comradery with the other teachers and staff. But retirement does have lots of perks! I hope your son is settling in to being away from home. “Your child’s life will be filled with fresh experiences. It’s good if yours is as well.”
    —Dr. Margaret Rutherford (She might be referring to retirement!)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I went half-time for a couple of years. Don't know whether they let you do that there - you get half a pension and half a salary. Only thing, make sure if you have any half-days they are not in the morning - you don't get home until mid-afternoon.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Our 'children' are in their 40's but I still remember how lost I felt when they left home to go to university. Our first holiday without them was the strangest, no one to join in an early morning mad cap leap into cold water. It's not as much fun on your own!
    You will adjust to the change and come to relish the quiet of home. There's the fun of when they all descend for the weekend, one or other starts playing the piano, the house is in chaos and it's WONDERFUL.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I was tearful when we dropped my eldest son at university a couple hours drive away. My husband said that he hadn't died and would come back. He is now married with a son of his own. Second son went to college locally and it wasn't such a wrench. He too is now married. It does take adjusting but it does move on to the next level.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jenn, how beautifully you brought us into this bittersweet time of your life! Glad I discovered your blog through your comment on Marmalade Gypsy. Happy Autumn!

    ReplyDelete
  27. When our middle child, a son, moved from CA to IL, I have to admit I was a bit weepy. But at the same time, it was important. He is now married, has a toddler and will have another baby in a month.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yeah for you. Oh I do get it. It is the journey yours and theirs intertwined.

    Each journey in its own phase. My 21 year old grandgirl is driving up to my new home on her own something that wouldn’t have happened at the 40 acres. And there will be fun and girl stuff and chicken coop building.

    It is different but it is a journey new to both of us. Could we ask more?

    ReplyDelete