When the Empty Nest is Full Again

Today is my firstborn son’s 29th birthday. We were stationed in Germany when he was born. It was an overcast, muggy day. The minute the midwife handed him to me, I recognized his face.

Yesterday, I noticed his hair was graying at the temples. My baby.

It was when I became a mother that my dream of writing really took a back seat.  I was working full time and trying to be a good wife and mother–the whole “supermom” thing, which we all know is a crock.  No mother feels super about dropping her child at daycare to be nurtured by strangers.

So much has happened over the years. He’s been my problem child, the one who never listens. Our relationship has been a rocky one, but we’ve never doubted our love for one another. There were times when weeks would go by without hearing from him. I know he was using, but I don’t know what. Those are the times you pray desperate, sometimes wordless, prayers. When it snows, you wonder if he’s sleeping in his car. When you sit down to dinner, you wonder if he’s hungry.

A brief stint in jail a few years back seemed to jolt him to consciousness. He was working and on his own.

Last year, my husband and I thought both our sons had left the nest for good. More time for each other. More time to write. The empty nest held no dread for us.

Not so fast. As our younger son was moving his stuff out, our older son was moving his back in.  Literally. It was like some bizarre ballet.  He’d had a nasty break-up with the girl I warned him about. At least I know where he is and that he’s eating.  Financial circumstances may soon send our younger son winging his way home. More laundry. More dishes to wash. More food to prepare.

Less time to write? Maybe. But I’m actually hoping the writing time I do have will be more productive. Less to worry about. Consolidated bills. Time for the boys to find better jobs. They can help with the dishes and the laundry. There may even be times when the four of us sit down to dinner together.

Circumstances are shifting. I’m a tough broad. I’ll shift with them. And I’ll write.