I’ve not posted in a few weeks. I’m sure you’ve all noticed and been bored out of your minds without my rantings. I tend to go quiet around my birthday – I had warned you. I use that time to reflect on things, and I write, and paint. I’d like to say I’ve created masterpieces in my time away but for the most part, I’ve brooded. I’ve thought about time and missed opportunities. You see, I’ve lost something this month and it’s not anything I’ll ever get back. Being the sentimental (some might say “mawkish”) type, I like to sit around and guilt myself about all the could have, should have moments. Seldom will you see me say I did something “right” – it’s easier to damn myself for how it “should have” been. It’s too late to go back and re-do the last nineteen years of my life though.
There’s an empty space in my garage now – which means I don’t have to shriek at him for parking too close to my car.
There’s an empty room in my house now – which means when I walk up the hallway in the morning, I can’t look in and see his lanky body curled up on his side, or hear his snoring.
There’s an empty space on the sofa – where I no longer see him and his harem all smashed together watching movies or reality television.
There’s no mystery about the mess in the kids’ bathroom anymore – which means if there’s a mess now, with only 1 boy, I can pretty much figure out who caused it.
There are no scatterings of late night meals found the next morning – no lettuce or cereal strewn about the countertop like leftover confetti from his midnight kitchen parade.
There are no puddles of balsamic vinegar left everywhere – which always made me wonder if he came home and decided to finger paint with the stuff.
There are no clothes thrown all over his bedroom floor – which was a constant source of my shrieking.
And, speaking of noise, there’s a distinct lack of it now. There’s no distant “BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM” of techno music heralding his arrival from blocks away. It no longer emanates from his bedroom either – that’s all been replaced by silence.
I admit it. I’m one of those moms who has always lived for her kids. I was never one of the cool ones who could balance work and home life well. From the moment I had him, I dreaded going back to work, but fiscal responsibility demanded it. I was lucky in that I handed him (as an infant) over to my step-mother-in-law to watch, not a stranger, but it’s not the same as being the mom who got to stay home with her baby. There were times I’d finish the hour-long commute, and arrive only to have him burst into tears at sight of me. Ah, that felt great. Nothing like a shot of guilt straight to the heart.
It seems I’m doomed to always second guess myself. As I hugged him goodbye last week, I apologized for being a bad mom. Yes, I was crying. I’m still crying. It’s a lot of clean, quiet, empty space I’m dealing with now and I don’t like it. His little brother is being extra kind to me. I’m sure he’s tired of my incessant weeping. He’ll come around the corner and see me sobbing and get that look on his face like, “God it must suck to be a girl!”
Yesterday as I looked in the mirror I realized I’ve morphed into an unpleasant amalgamation of Phyllis Diller and Endora – without their keen sense of style or stunning good looks. At this rate, if my eyes continue to puff up, I’ll be unable to see, which might be beneficial as it will prevent me from going in his room and digging around for old toys or stuffed animals to torment myself with.
Then there’s that poem of mothering that I printed out when he was a baby. I framed it and put it in his room to remind me to take every opportunity to sit and play with my boys. The last line in the poem is the bane of my existence now – I go to sleep with it running around in my head, and when I wake, there it is again: “I wish I might go back and do the little things you asked me to.”
He calls and texts while away at college. I don’t. I don’t want to disturb him. He has a new life now, while I stay trapped under the glass of his old one. He did laundry last night – for the first time. His harem of four girl roommates are now in charge of his mothering. They get the confetti of food after his late night meals. They get the techno music and the snoring. They get the reality television and the piles of his clothes. They have no idea how lucky they are…