003.

We turn out the porch light and sort through the candy.

I see him picking pieces out of the cauldron.

My heart sort of sinks when I watch him. I feel . . . bad? Guilty?

Guilty.

I look at the teenager and say, “Maybe you should have gotten candy tonight, then the two of you could have traded like you and your sister used to.”

“What,” the littlest says, overhearing and grabbing a chair at the island, too.

“Yeah,” says the teenager, “Sis and I used to pour our candy on the floor, sort it, and trade for our favorites. Like, I’d give her a Snickers for two Milky Way.”

The littlest thinks for a moment and says, “Well, Sis isn’t here anymore* and you don’t Trick-or-Treat, so I don’t have anyone to do that with.”

Guilt. Definitely guilt.

*Sis is our college freshman.

Things They Don’t Tell You About Parenting Young Adults: 001

1. Sleepless nights don’t stop, but you might find yourself actually melancholy when you realize someday soon your sleeplessness won’t be eased by the sound of the house alarm chime when they walk through the front door . . . because they’ll be sleeping elsewhere.

Like their dorm room. 

2.  Your conversations will run the gamut of topics, from Snapchat and current slang to relationship advice and fashion tips, and you’ll actually enjoy it. 

It’ll feel less like talking to a hormonal wall and more like talking to a younger, smarter version of yourself.  

3. Never underestimate the gift of one-on-one time together. Even if that means running errands or keeping each other company while painting your own nails, you’ll be grateful for that time well spent.

4. Worrying doesn’t stop, either. It just changes, grows in different directions, maybe even becomes that sort of desperate worry that can never be fully alleviated because couch snuggles and kissing their hurts isn’t as effective as it once was.  

Raising Wolves.

Raising a strong, fierce daughter has been (relatively) easy because she comes from warrior blood. 

Dragon ladies and bruhas, shield maidens and hustlers. 

Women who know what it is to not just survive, but fucking thrive even through adversity. 

Raising strong, fierce boys is where my worry lies. Will they be good men? Compassionate and kind, quick to help without need for reciprocity? Will they stand against oppression and abuse? Will they be more than bystanders in life? 

And then I remember they have warrior blood, too.

I remember the lineage of women who once held them in their wombs.

I remember that I married their father because he is a good man and I knew he would help create good men.

I remember my boys never fail to temper their ferocity with the size of their hearts. 

. . . lest their sister kick their asses. 😜

All The Ways Knowing Changes.

it's amazing,
how loud my
inner voice is
after almost
seventeen years
of never even
being able
to pee alone.

- motherhood, Nicole C.

After almost 17 years of parenting, I thought I knew some things.

But, you know, one can never learn enough.

For instance, I used to think my Beasties were the reason my coffee always got cold before I could finish it.

Nope.

I have realized I get distracted easily and move from task to task, so unless I am seated with the purpose of staying seated, my coffee is going to get cold--Beasties home or not.

Also, when you having to cook three meals a day every day, plus the occasional snack, you seem to think you're the type of person who needs three squares daily.

Wrong again.

During the school week, I find I am more of a grazer than a full, sit down to a meal sort of eater. My favorite brunch these days, because gods know I rarely eat breakfast AND lunch if the kids aren't home, turns out to be antipasto, usually consisting of a fruit, nitrate free salami, and fresh mozzarella.

Like, it's been about four days of this as a meal for me.

I sort of love it.

The other thing I've learned is how loud silence is. 

Seriously.

My inner voice is like an outside voice in my head, so I constantly have iTunes or Spotify open to drown out my overthinking.

What about you? If you parenting and are finding yourself in a new, no more babies underfoot phase, what are you learning about yourself?

The Birth of New Normal.

I was thinking this morning, as I headed home without a car full of Beasties and wondering what I would do with my free hours, that this too is a sort of mourning.

The way I feel right now.

Lost. At a loss.

Not a loss loss, of course, but, still . . . a loss.

My ways of being, almost my entire adult life up until now, has had a little one underfoot in some way.

I have only been backseat buddy-less for three years of my adult life. Do you know what that is like? To always look in the rearview and see a face beaming back at you? To always buckle someone else in first wherever I went? To sit in a car, parked in front of Target or Costco or a school, hoping my phone battery would out last a nap?

Now, instead of settling in for a few hours of Mickey and Jake, snacks dotted about the coffee table and kitchen counters, I leave my keys in the door in case the school calls.

On his first day of Kindergarten, I came home and stared at the wall for twenty minutes, not sure what to do with myself. Today, his third day, I drove home after drop off and sat in the car for fifteen minutes.

Aimless.

Untethered.

I am having to relearn who I am when I am not holding a hand or wiping a nose or promising just one more errand and we can go home, okay, baby.

And the house? The house feels it, too.

It's quiet aside from my constant stream of music to fill the empty spaces.

Toys aren't scattered five minutes after I pick them up. The dishes aren't filling the sink just as quickly as I wash them. The fridge isn't opening and closing all day long, the rattle of condiment bottles signaling a sneaky snacker.

There is a melancholy in my bones.

A hollowness I can hear in the silence of the house when no one is fighting over who has to put the dishes away or gets a turn on the XBox, when no one is knocking on the door when I am just trying to shower, good gods, can't I just shower.

And I know this new normal will feel just like old normal soon enough . . . just soon enough for our eldest Beastie to graduate and move that much closer to her dreams independent of us. And then there will be another new normal that settles in like a blanket, muffling the hollowness and warming the melancholy.

But . . . still.

Still, I'm not sure where my place in this new normal is just yet.