Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cramming it all in!

The other night my two children and I took my husband to dinner for his birthday and to celebrate the last wonderful days of summer vacation. As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge we witnessed a police car ahead of us turn on his lights and make a u-turn on the bridge. He stopped suddenly, jumped out of his car, and ran to the side of the bridge. We all watched in horror knowing the likelihood that there had been a jumper. Living in the Bay Area you hear about this frequently. It must be the majesty of the Bridge that brings desperate souls here to take their final leap. Of course, as a Mom, I see this an opportunity to impart a life lesson. I have a tendency to do this, at nauseam, I'm afraid. It is my duty as their mother to guide them. I want there to be my voice in their head when I'm long gone or nowhere around. So, I begin. "You know kids, if you are ever depressed and have thoughts of suicide there is always someone to talk to. You can always call the suicide hotline. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." I feel that I have done my duty and hopefully in times of trouble they will remember what I said. But, as soon as I have completed my sentence I hear giggles from the back seat. I ask my 13-year-old what's so damn funny. He tells me I have told them this before. The words verbatim. Yes, they know that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. They giggle at me some more.
I realize that I have been busy cramming every life lesson imaginable into their little brains. I think I have a limited time to teach them everything they will need in life. But here I am on the first day of the rest of my life and I haven't a clue what I need to do. Where is that voice in my head telling me that when the time comes and you are in the throws of menopausal hell, and your kids are growing up and getting ready to leave you, this is what you are suppose to do! I want a voice. Of course, mine would probably be diagnosed as schizophrenia!
It is August 25, 2009 at 11:26 am and my oldest left for the first day of his junior year of high school a few hours ago. I woke up with that awful pit in my stomach. The house would soon be so quiet and all I would be left with was the laundry, marketing, bed making, and my resounding thoughts. But thank God I remember that my 13-year-old is still asleep and has another two days of summer vacation. I can put off the inevitable despair for another two days.
But I claim today as the first day of the rest of my life because I am preparing for summer to be over. For me to be left at home alone. And ultimately for my oldest to be going off to college. I am beginning my mourning process. I know that this year will be filled with anxiety, tedium, fears, hopes, dreams, broken hearts, and lots and lots of homework! I alway dread the beginning of the school year. For me it is more significant than January 1st. It is a new year and I approach it with my fears intact. But this year is different. This year I have begun the countdown to the rest of my life. The most important job of my life, raising my sons, soon will be coming to a close. I know I will always be their mother and they will always need me. But the truth of the matter is that I love to be with them. I love our family. I love being all together. And soon I have to do what I don't do well at all. I will have to let them go.
So, as I write I realize that I am getting ready for the day they leave me. Just like I got ready when I was about to deliver them, what seems like moments ago. I cleaned the house, cooked up a storm, laid out their layette, put together their crib. Nesting they call it. Well, what do you call what I am doing now? Unnesting? Empty Nesting? Those are ugly words. Can't we come up with something better for the first day of the rest of our lives? Well, in the next two years I sure as hell am going to try.

(c) 2009 Terry Castle


  1. OMG! What a great post! Keep them coming.

  2. Better than what Julie wrote--by far!

  3. if you put up the embarassing baby pictures i swear to God...

  4. Ya wanna voice???I got yer voice right here!!! We've been so busy being "the voice" for our kids that we can't hear our own anymore...it doesn't mean that it's not there...we just have to take the time to relax and listen a little harder.

  5. wow i really love this blog! ive been experiencing the same thing ever since my daughter entered her senior year of high school. i dont want my baby to leave!! expect lots of comments from me!

  6. What happened to the fun times you have and will have with Tom, and your girlfriends? This is such a special time of your life. It gives you such a great sense of self discovery. Of course I miss the boys, all three of them, but it is so gloriously wonderful when they come home to visit, because of course, no matter where they live, this is home. The squares on my calendar are still quite full, but pleasantly, I save a few just for me.