Whelp, looks like it's time to shake the dust off and hit it again. I decided to do the proverbial Monday Start, with a gradual easing into something new. Today we are having a little end-of-summer celebration which will include food (thinking chicken on the grill, a nice big salad with garden tomatoes, some decidedly un-diety crockpot macaroni and cheese, and a homemade pineapple upside down cake... something I haven't made in more than 7 years). Oh, I will be portion-moderate, but this is food I expect to actually enjoy. I have had a hard time enjoying food lately... healthy, junky, or in-between.
School is starting this week and I admit I am more than a little nervous... not for my kids, as they will do fine and be happy to trot off to their classes and friends. But for me. I have never really had much alone time. At all. I started working when I was 13 and continued through my teen years while also going to school, and back then I did sometimes come home and have a couple of hours alone when my Dad was working and my mom was off doing religious stuff or whatever else she was off doing. When I moved out at 18, I lived with a family of six, working in their home business in return for room and board, sleeping in their basement. And then it was college with five roommates and at 20, marrying a man with three children, and from there it was more and more kids (my own five and five fosters at various times). I was mostly a stay-at-home mom, always seemed to have a baby at home, and then when I did have a gap in babies I was working and going to school full time. Whenever I was home I had my kids here with me. Last year when my last baby went to kindergarten, it was tough but not that bad. I worked in her class one day a week and she was only in school less than 3 hours a day (even less on Fridays), and I used that bit of "free time" to run necessary errands and go to appointments and catch up on housework. I was very rarely home without her there and when I was, it was just long enough to do a few chores and then it was time to go back and pick her up.
This year will be different. Very different. First grade is full time... about seven hours a day. I still plan to work a couple hours a week in her classroom, but honestly I have a hard time fathoming having SEVEN HOURS at a stretch with no children. It feels very... scary?... to me. My oldest is 21. Kids have filled my life for decades. And now... well, as I said, it's hard to imagine having SEVEN HOURS. I think a lot of tears will be shed, I will miss her terribly, but this is a new era in my life. One without babies :(
I am very, very glad I have my puppy to hug and snuggle and talk to. I could not stand it otherwise. She will take lots of my time with the classes I have us signed up for (tracking, nosework, and obedience) as well as dock diving practice and home training and walks. But, I really need to figure out WHAT I am going to do next. Go back to school and get my doctorate, perhaps? I definitely want to incorporate things like exercise, cooking, doing a better job of cleaning, and finally organizing and decluttering the rest of my house. I will have lots of time to do so. I also can finally make all the appointments I have delayed and take care of my health issues as well as looking into support groups, classes, or counseling about the weight/eating stuff.
I feel like I have been walking through a forest... a beautiful forest... on a twisting, turning path, and am about to emerge from the trees into a vast, seemingly endless meadow. After 20+ years of having a path and seeing only trees and ferns and flowers, it is amazing and confusing to have the whole world opened up with all this space and little constriction. Which way to go? What to do? You step into the pathless meadow and have to DECIDE which way to go. It's disconcerting without a map, but I think I will get used to it and am going to be okay.
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