Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lost and a Little Out of Sorts

Since the day my son was born I have been counting down until he was grown and out of the house, giving us back the flexibility and freedom of the pre-baby years. While I love being a mother, and I love my son beyond belief, the past 14 years have been completely consumed by his schedule. For the past 6 years we have spent virtually every weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, driving around a 60 mile radius to soccer games and practices, leaving very little time to do anything else. Sometimes I resented the intrusion on our free time, mostly when there was a conflict of schedules, and the guilt we were made to feel by missing a game or a practice, and couldn't wait to be free of the constant commitment.

Well, now it has happened. No more soccer. Simultaneous to that, Max has become completely independent, going to stay with friends most weekends. Sometimes they come here, but they are gone during the days, and stop by at night to play videogames and finally sleep. Either way, we don't see much of him, and he doesn't ask much of us. We give him his allowance, he seems to figure out how to spend it judiciously, and he is off on his own, roaming around, having fun, hanging out. Gone from the house. We are alone, at last.

But it is not as sweet as I had imagined. I don't really know what to do with myself all day. I sleep late if I can. I pay the bills, read books and magazines, catch up on tv (The War seems to go on forever, I don't know if I will be able to watch all of it, but that's another story about the trials and tribulations of the Time Warner dvr system), laze around all day in pajamas. Sometimes we go outside and walk around. I'm making an effort to not go shopping and buy more things I don't need or have room for, also with the goal of paying down the Amex bill. I've been trying to sell my car, but that's kind of a passive thing, waiting for emails and phone calls to respond to. I see friends and that is nice, but generally in the evenings for dinner or a drinks.

So here I sit, knowing that I could clean the house (yuck) or put the summer vacation photos in an album (boring) or bake the apple cobbler for Elizabeth (tomorrow) or go to a movie (nothing sounds too interesting) or watch more of The War (oy) or read a book (I read for 2 hours this morning, I need something else) or put away the stack of cd's that Max put into his i-touch (he really should do that himself what am I the maid?) or file the bills (again, boring) or go for a walk (ok I'll go outside).


Larry Slade said...

Sounds like the empty nest syndrome.

Within the past year or so I read a book called Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert. In one part of it he shows charts from two different studies that had to do with children and happiness.

We love our children, we have to it is genetic. It is the only way that the species can survive. Especially when one takes into account the time that it takes in years to go from birth to independence. It is a very long time. (And a lot of soccer games)
But the data of these studies shows that children do not make us happy.
The charts show that the happiness level declines when the children come.
It goes up when the kids go off to school.
Goes down again during the difficulties of the teen years (maybe you are blessed with an especially good boy through this part).
And returns to the levels it started at after the kids are off on their own.

Anyway, it is interesting stuff and you can go look at the charts in the bookstore during one of your future boring Saturdays.

SP said...

I hear so many moms (and dads) talk about feeling like that. You have to rediscover yourself again - when you have literally dedicated every second to someone else! At least you live somewhere there is lots to do! Maybe you can go scope out a a good seat for the Macy's thanksgiving day parade now ;)