Not of the Emergency Broadcasting System, but instead of what my life will be like in 4 years or so. This past week, with Sara and Evan gone to Virginia, and Sam and Eric gone fairly late into the evenings, it was virtually an empty nest and I had a very different kind of schedule. Most of the time it was awesome.
Sometimes, it was really odd.
It wasn't that I was lonely, because I already have my days to myself during the school year. It was more that all my usual routines were off. No one needed my help or was depending on me or looking for me to offer structure and organization to them. Those are parts of my life as a mother that, as much as they drive me insane, really and actually help me stay sane. I only had myself to worry about and friends, for me, that is the gateway to a whole world of odd. I picture myself ending up sort of like the Mad Hatter, knitting bits of brightly colored yarn and mumbling to myself about how the children will be back any minute now.
Anyway, I think that when I have an actual empty nest, I might need to move to an entirely new house or radically renovate, just because this one is so completely drenched in the presence and routines of the people who currently live here. I think I'll need a sort of blank canvas in order to create a whole new way of doing the work of my days.
Believe me, I'm not complaining. I liked getting this peek through the looking-glass at the next phase of my development, minus the whole Mad Hatter image, of course. I'm truly looking forward to everything to come. How many times as a young mom did I have fantasies about being alone and having the opportunity to choose how to spend my days? Often, I assure you! I promise I'll be looking wistfully back on this week as we move into the coming weeks of Wedding/Travel/Sports and Band practice/Sam off to school/etc./etc./etc.
Buuuut, the fact remains that I am a creature of inertia. I like staying in one place, preferably wearing pajamas, until forcibly moved out of it. Being all alone made it way too easy to do that. Having work to do helps me be a better person. As people who are currently near me in both physical proximity and dependency become less so, I will have to exert a lot of energy and a certain kind of discipline that is not my best thing to fill my time productively and appropriately. This week, I had a lot on my list, so it worked out and served as a reminder that I don't ever really want to live a self-centered life in any form. I am glad that people need me and want me around, and that there are things I've promised to do every day. Having reasons to occasionally put the book down and hang the PJ's on the bathroom door hook are a good thing. This week will help me to always remember that.