In cleaning out and sorting papers, I found a loose journal-type entry of mine. It was not dated, but had to have been written sometime in late 1999 or early 2000. I have deleted the names to protect the innocent (or should I say guilty). I think I was frustrated and just venting when I wrote this:
“My 15-year-old son just broke his toilet paper holder off the wall! It was put on brand new a few weeks ago by the guy who hung the new wallpaper there. The wall paper has a lighthouse motif. I found some cute little ceramic soap and lotion dispensers in the shape of lighthouses to put at the basins. Yesterday, I glued a chip back on one of them. It has several smaller chips that I won’t be able to repair. Two weeks ago the boys broke a support off the handrail to the stairs while they were rough housing. The three eldest boys broke the door to one of their bedrooms that very same day. I am still fuming about all of this destruction!!! Why can’t I have anything stay nice???
I think my problem is that I am ready to be an empty-nester. This is a problem because I have a first grader (also a boy) and two other sons in between the two I have already mentioned. I also have a daughter, still at home, who is 17. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel there. I am geared up to enjoy the one more year I have with her. Her three older sisters are already away at college. Most of the friends my age are empty-nesters.
Twenty-four years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. I had either one or two in diapers for over 18 years! If anyone deserves to be an empty nester, it is me. The irony is that when I finally arrive there, I will probably be too old and senile to enjoy it. I will be too old to cook, let alone to enjoy being the only woman in my kitchen. (I’ve always maintained that two women in a kitchen, is one too many.) I will probably no longer be wearing make-up, so it won’t matter that my blushes and nail polish will stay where I put them. No one will want to borrow my orthotic shoes. Support hose won’t appeal to them either. In fact, I am sure none of them will want to wear anything I have. (Every year after the three oldest leave for college, I have to take an inventory of how many shirts, slips and socks I have left.)
With so many children, I will probably have lots of grandchildren. Grandchildren do damage too. I am just thinking of the damage my children did to their grandparent’s homes. Maybe we should volunteer to visit our grandchildren in their homes. Perhaps Jerry and I should get a large RV (with a bumper sticker that reads: ‘I am spending my children’s inheritance’ on it), and travel around to each child’s home, plugging into their electricity!”
Those were my sentiments back in late 1999. Here is how I feel today:
I finally arrived at the empty nest stage of life. I still enjoy cooking although I do not do nearly as much of it. It is fun when I have daughters and daughters-in-law come to help cook. My youngest son and I had a lot of fun cooking together before he left the nest. Occasionally we still cook together when he is around. One daughter still goes through my make-up. (She now asks permission to take what she wants of it.) I find it endearing that a thirty something woman still wants to go through and wear mama’s make-up. I don’t wear orthotic shoes or support hose—yet. Even if the girls were to like my clothes, they (the girls) are all too small for my clothes to fit them well. I love having my grandchildren over even though things do get broken from time-to-time. We have plenty of time to make any repairs or clean-ups that need to be made. I really enjoy all of my adult children and their spouses too!!! What an exciting time of life!