Now that my nightly fight to get a quarter of a Pepsid down the throat of my cat with the tiny kidneys is over (it only took three tries to get her to swallow a pill the size of a large grain of sand!) and she’s sitting on a chair in my office giving me the stink eye, once again, it’s time to try to get my thoughts in order and put something down here.
A conversation with one of my fellow bloggers got me thinking about the dynamics of our children moving out on their own for the first time (and, for most of us, hopefully, the last as well since most of us prefer to avoid the revolving door syndrome many parents experience when their children find out just how expensive it is to support themselves!)
Up until about a year and a half ago, my daughter and her boyfriend were living with me. In December of 2011, armed with her low paying but full-time job and his GI bill, they decided to rent their own place.
At first, I was really torn up about it as, to be honest, I hadn’t lived alone since I had moved in with her father over 30 years ago, and I wasn’t sure I remembered how. But once the deed was done, I wondered why I ever had any doubts.
Let me take a step back, though, and bring in the back story which will allow this to start to make some sense.
My daughter’s twin sister moved out of the house in the middle of the night shortly after she turned 18. A few frantic months followed when we didn’t know where she was, but as time went on, we found that the house was a lot more peaceful without her, and proceeded to strengthen our relationship, and yes, our friendship as well. Though some will argue that you can’t be a parent and a friend, I will, respectfully, disagree. My daughter and I enjoy a lot of the same activities, share many inside jokes and just enjoy each others’ company. That does not mean we share our whole social lives with each other, even though there was a point when we did. She has her own, age appropriate friends as do I. It’s taken me some time to open myself up to those friendships, and admittedly, I have a long way to go, but I am making excellent progress!
Over the years, we developed a system, for lack of a better word, of letting each other know when we’d be late, where we were going, etc. out of respect for each other as roommates, if nothing else. So it was rather refreshing for me to make a decision to go someplace and not have to check in with anyone who might be expecting me home.
The first time I made plans with friends on a Friday night and didn’t bother to mention it (seeing no real reason I should) it became clear to me that although she’d decided to move out, she wasn’t as ready to cut the ties as she thought. She started texting me, asking where I was and wasn’t overly happy when I had to cut her off as the play we had gone to see was about to begin.
These days, she makes plans with her friends a lot more, and I, somehow, manage to find something to do with myself too! We keep in touch, but we’re no longer in each others’ pockets and if we decide to have a quiet weekend in our own homes, we no longer think anything of it. But it still gives me a chuckle when I think about the separation anxiety being more on my daughter’s part than mine.
I have to say that I love having the whole house to myself for the first time, ever! If I put something away, it stays there. If I use the kitchen, I clean up after myself and it stays cleaned up. I don’t have clothes and books and computers scattered all over my living room. It is well worth having to take care of the trash myself and clean up after the cats and all of the little chores she used to share with me.
And it’s not like she is very far away. After living across town for about a year, she moved back to an apartment right up the street from my house, so she and her husband are there if I need anything like helping give fluids to the aforementioned cat, or to join me at the gym, or for Sunday breakfast or errands. At this point, I have all of the benefits of having her nearby without having to share my house with her! It may not always be clutter free, but it’s all MY clutter and I can live with that!
The best part is that we have become better friends as the strain of living together was removed.
My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful that I am comfortable in my own skin and living by myself is an adventure.
2. I am grateful for opportunities for new experiences.
3. I am grateful for friendships that continue to develop and grow.
4. I am grateful for an abundance of energy as I go into a month or so of crazy, busy days.
5. I am grateful for my writing which keeps me grounded even when my world is spinning crazily on its axis.
Love and light.