October 2, 2010

Empty Nest

Ninja moved out today, leaving me an empty nest. With Monkey Boy in Germany for the next 3 years, I am officially an empty nester. I'm not sure how I feel. 

The day started with a blown fuse and a trip with Ninja to get a replacement. I appreciated the time with him, knowing he was packed up and just waiting for his Dad to pick him up. He's decided to live with his Dad, for various reasons. For one, it's difficult for me to support him with neither of us working. He also has a lot of distractions at my house, many of which are not available at his Dad's. To achieve his goals, he needs to be focused.

When he left for college, I cried. When he left for bootcamp, I cried. Every time Monkey Boy has left, I've cried. I didn't cry this time. I know I will see him every few weeks, that he is just across town.

I thought because I didn't cry, I wasn't really affected. Having the house to myself is something I've dreamed of off and on for the last 20 years. I went straight from my parent's house to rooming with 3 women, to rooming with my husband, my children's father, back to my parent's with children, to my children's "Daddy," then living with just my children. I used to call in sick while my kids were at school just so I could have a quiet, alone, mental health day.

Ninja left, and I finished my homework, thinking I would have that mental health day denied me since my children graduated high school. When I went upstairs, this is what I saw:

Monkey Boy's room. 
Now a gaming/exercise room 
since he left for bootcamp last year.
Ninja's room.  
This will have to stay a guest room as he will be back some weekends, and I expect Monkey Boy to come home on leave occasionally.
This is the cleanest either child has left their room while moving, so I have to thank Ninja for that. I did wipe down the desk and texted to let him know he forgot a favorite shirt. Then I went to take a shower and thought "well, he's not going to clean the bathroom, so I'd better" (the bathroom was one of his chores). By the time I was done I'd scrubbed not only the bathroom, but also the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. I threw out 3 garbage bags of old food and things that have been sitting unused for years. 

The fridge was empty by the time I was done
so I filled it with more food than I can eat.
It still looks empty.
I cleaned the cabinets...
and loaded up on comfort foods.
Princess says I'm nesting. I'm not sure what I'm doing, besides laughing at myself. Claiming the house as mine? Marking my territory? One thing I know I'm doing is trying to figure out who I am, sans children. Am I the neat freak they used to accuse me of, before I gave up trying to keep up with them? Am I the slob I then became, who straightened but didn't clean? At this point I don't know. I know I want my house clean, but I don't know if I'm willing to do the work to keep it that way. I know there will be changes in my routines, as I pick up the chores Ninja handled and maybe add a few of my own, now that the mess is completely my own. Now that the nest is completely my own.  

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