Monday, July 25, 2016

Changing Perspectives

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!

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