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April 2011
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June 2011

Sounds of silence

        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. 

Where are you from?

        Lately I've been contemplating that question quite a bit.  "Where are you from?" seems like a pretty basic thing, just a request for information that you should be able to answer without even thinking.   Problem is, I do think, and that's where it gets tricky.

        See, when someone asks me where I'm from, a whole host of possibilities pops into my mind.   Do you mean, where was I born?   Or where did I live before I came here?  Or even, where do I live right now?    And the list of answers grows even longer when you consider who is asking the question and what information they really want.   Do you want to know all the places I've lived?  Or the place that I truly consider home?  

                Everywhere I've lived has been "home", at least for a little while.  Every place has both good and bad memories.   And because of that, every place is part of me now.   To really answer the question, I'd have to list everywhere I've ever lived, which isn't always the best idea in a casual conversation!    (Most folks' eyes start to glaze over...not fun.)   In my mind, though, I'm from all those places.   Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Germany, South Carolina - even West Virginia, thanks to lots of time there with grandparents and aunts and uncles.  

        Honestly, most of the time I go for the easy answer, the most obvious choice.  "We moved here from Michigan" is really all most people want to hear.   Sometimes, though,  the list of places I call "home" rolls through my mind and I have to pause a moment to decide which one I want right now.  So if I hesitate when someone asks me where I'm from, that's why. 

        Where are you from? 


Blogger's stew

        I've been pondering posts for a couple weeks now and just couldn't seem to pull anything coherent out of the hat, so this is going to be a totally random mix of whatever comes to mind.   Ready?  Here we go!

        Oldest son is currently in Michigan, getting ready to take his favorite girl to prom.  I put him on a plane in Charlotte yesterday, and let me tell you, that was not fun.  The kid's 18, almost 19 - definitely not a "little kid" anymore - but wow, was it hard to walk away from him!   This is his first big trip on his own, and we were both excited and nervous at the same time.   I've been dealing with the fact that he's growing up for some time now, but yesterday really cemented it for me.   From now on, we're  just support staff.   We can offer suggestions and so on, but the decisions really need to be his.   Am I the only mom who finds that a strange feeling?  Sigh....

        Easter came and went in a blur of family visits, rain and backed-up drains.  Jon's older brother and his family came for Easter weekend, which was very nice.   Unfortunately, the second day they were here our drains started getting temperamental again, and by the Thursday after Easter the plumbers were here doing their thing.  The drain lines need to be completely replaced (ugh), but we're not sure when that's going to happen, so - ?  We're just trying to keep things moving.  

        Our minivan, which has served us valiantly for almost four years, is on its last legs (tires?).  Considering that it had over 90, 000 miles when we got it, it's been a pretty good van.  However, I was honestly concerned that it would give up the ghost while the kids and I were on our way to South Carolina, leaving us stranded somewhere between here and Michigan with no way to finish the trip.  Thankfully that didn't happen, but I really didn't want to continue to use it as my only means of transportation.  Soooo, last weekend Jon and I did some car-hunting, and now there's a 2003 New Beetle sitting in our driveway!   Amazingly, the car had less than 40,000 miles on it, and it looks like new.   The price was great and it drives like a dream, and best of all?  Over 33 mpg!  Yeah!   The van's gas mileage has been getting worse and worse, so this is wonderful.   It's a bright red-orange, so it's easy to find in parking lots, too.  :-)   We're still keeping the van - with a little TLC,  it's got some more life in it - but the bulk of my driving will be the Beetle.  

        Last but not least - tomorrow is Mother's Day!  Make sure to tell your mom how special she is, and if you're a mom, be good to yourself.  You deserve it!