This week I am alone. No big deal, right? A lot of people are alone a lot of the time.
Not me, though. I have been ensconced in family life for what feels like forever.
Not so long ago, I couldn’t eat a meal without a baby crying or a toddler tantruming. I certainly couldn’t have a shower in peace. There was a time I thought I’d never sleep again or talk to my friends again.
Those years have whizzed by in a blur of noise, squabbles, children’s parties, school and food fads. There was the time small boy had a seizure, then big boy had a collapsed lung. The panics, dramas and joys all intertwined in that soap opera known as family life.
I’ve worried, fretted and aged in an attempt to keep the show on the road, keep the troops happy – or at the very least, not too traumatised…
But things change. Kids grow up and move on and our parental job description changes.
‘ Cheer them on-do their weekend laundry and provide a safe haven as and when required. ‘
Happily, I’m not yet at the point of waving them goodbye and wallpapering my empty nest. But I am getting a taster of what it might feel like…
It all started with big boy getting a job. Having finished school, he’s spending the summer washing pots to earn some money for college. So that’s big boy gone. Hostage to the dirty pot producing public. I miss him- big time, but couldn’t be more proud.
And now Ger, medium and pre-teen are off for five days. Pre-teen is doing a computer course in Cork and needs family on side to cheer him on, make his sandwiches and collect him at 3.30.
Which leaves moi and the dogs. Alone. Holding the metaphorical fort.
So how does it feel?
On the plus side:
It’s nice and peaceful.
If I clean something up- it stays clean.
Mealtimes are infinitely simpler.
Wash up is infinitely simpler.
Laundry is infinitely simpler
I can breathe freely (The house is free of deodorants, bodyspray, hairspray and perfume)
Interestingly, whilst day one in ‘alone city‘ had a bit of a holiday feeling, day two is a somewhat more sombre and restrained affair. Whilst there are no squabbles or raised voices, neither is there any silliness, no laughs, no hugs. Even the dogs look a bit subdued.
That old truism;
‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ is kicking in.
Big boy has rang to check in with me five times (fall over in surprise!)
The times I have begged him to send a simple, ‘I am OK,’ text when he’s out and about. Now he’s making actual unprompted calls to see if I am OK!!
Medium and pre-teen have texted multiple messages of love and smiley faces- (aww sweet, eh?)
It transpires that they miss me, and I miss them.
And what about all those things I constantly moan about? i.e chemical sprays choking me, people dirtying things up the minute I clean them, hormones (theirs not mine, of course!) endless scheduling requests.
I’d be lying if I said they don’t matter a toss- just give me back my babies.
They do matter a bit- but not that much.