This weekend my husband and children are in Virginia at our niece's graduation, and I am home alone (well, except for the dogs). I had planned to go as well, until the cost of the kennel and a scratchy sore throat convinced me to stay home. While I'm sorry I missed seeing Rachel receive her diploma, I must say that it's been nice to have the house to myself.
Yesterday afternoon, after everyone had left, I realized that this is the first time I've truly been alone for more than an hour or two in years. Oh, I've had my run-away-from-home days, where I've hopped in the car and taken off for a few hours of peace, but even that isn't really being alone (especially since I usually go to a bead, yarn or book store!). Since noon yesterday, I have been the only person in the house. I haven't even seen another person in that time. It's been.....interesting.
I've often wondered what it will be like to be home when the kids have all moved out. Will I be bored? Nervous? How will I fill my days? If this weekend is any indication of what I can expect, I'll be just fine. Even though I don't feel the best, it's been relaxing to just do what I want, when I want. The dogs are good company, and they definitely keep me from being nervous. (I pity the person who would try to get in here and hurt any member of our family with these dogs around, actually.) And the list of things I can do to amuse myself is never-ending. Read, bead, knit, sew, play my piano, surf the Internet, play with the dogs, take a nap.....any one of those activities will keep me happily occupied for hours at a time. I think I can safely scratch "boredom" off my list of concerns, too.
Having said all this, please don't think that I want to get rid of my family! I love my husband and children beyond words, and we have a lot of fun together. It's just nice to know that I haven't lost my ability to be "Stephanie", you know? I've had this fear of waking up the day after our last child leaves the nest and thinking "I have no idea what to do with myself now." It seems that a lot of parents are so invested in their kids' lives that they've made no provision for the day when the kids don't need that level of involvement. Then the kids leave, and the parents are completely lost. As much as I love and enjoy Luke, Faith and Seth, I've always known that someday (God willing) they would move on. I'll always be their Mom, but not in the same way. Kids are really long-term loaners, you know? God gives them to us for a few years so we can prepare them for life, and then they step up and continue the cycle. Of course, as every parent knows, preparing your child for life changes your life, but that's part of the deal.
So my weekend alone has been good in several ways. I've gotten some rest, enjoyed some peace and quiet, and had some time to think about my life. And I have to say, I have a mighty good life, and I am grateful.