This Nest of Mine Is Never Empty
D-Day. August 16, 2008. Lunar Eclipse and other earth-shaking events–like Shannon goes to college; mom stays home.
My first-born has left the nest. I’m a little sad–because she’s not just my daughter but my friend and confidante, and I will miss her terribly–but I’m not the basketcase people have warned me about. I seem to be taking her fledging in stride much better than the parents who aren’t close to their now-grown children. I know in my heart that she’s not really leaving me and that she’s simply out adventuring and learning and she’ll share those things with me at our next opportunity.
The house is quiet, and that seems strange. The house has been a-buzz with so much energy this summer, and lots of laughter and music. The only music now, though, is the occasional “Crash and Burn” duet of Brian and Amy’s that pops into my head. But my houseguests are gone, and Robert-the-Boyfriend is no longer showing up at whatever moment he can to see Shannon. Regina Spektor and umpteen show-tunes aren’t being hummed in every room of the house at once, and for the moment, there are no candles and no incense burning. Aislinn is spending the weekend with her sister, doing a little last-minute bonding. Even Grendel, now accompanying Shannon to his new home, isn’t whining to come sit at my feet while I write. It is quiet here.
Quiet but busy. Shannon left me a few souvenirs. Like an incredibly ransacked bedroom because she ran out of time and couldn’t get everything packed, even at 3 AM this morning. She left behind all those stuffed animals I suggested she use as packing in the U-Haul. But I’ll get her back for that–I’ve told her I won’t be like other moms who turn their fledglings’ rooms into sewing parlors but instead, I’ll turn it into a “dungeon” with chains on the walls to secure a few good submissive men for my entertainment. She thinks I’m kidding. She left behind a 1986 BMW for me to sell, too, mainly because she couldn’t bear to part with it herself and she’s now driving her dad’s fairly new hand-me-down. She also left behind her driver’s license, which I found in the middle of the street after she left this morning, in the spot where she’d dropped something out of the U-Haul, except now it had rained on her license and the garbage truck had run over it and squished it up. I mailed it to her anyway, all the while visualizing cop cars not seeing her to pull her over. She did take with her the infamous “Din’saur Blanket” I made for her when she was a baby, even though it’s faded from bold primary colors to a dingy white and is almost threadbare.
I’m incredibly proud that she chose me to be her mother in this lifetime, and overjoyed at the brilliant, well-grounded, loving, creative, and responsible adult she’s become, plus a billion other adjectives that are synonyms for terrific.
Things will be different now that she’s gone to make a home of her own in another city. For one thing, I’ll be heading to Orlando a whole lot more, and already have several visits planned over the next few months. Maybe we’ll go to Disney one weekend and Cassadega for another. I’ll get more sleep, too, since I won’t be staying up so late to wait for her to come home from work. The Three-of-Cups energy that’s been our home for the past few years will remain, but without Shannon (and her friends) and the dog, the concept of feminine family harmony and my little matriarchy will shift somewhat to just Aislinn and me as a couple and we’ll be coordinating new schedules. Aislinn will be dating and driving soon, and already has an overactive social life and work schedule, so I’ll be focusing on new relationships, too. The harmonic Three-of-Cups energy will remain, but in a different way that’s suited to a different mix of people.
Shannon thinks I’ll be having more people in my house very soon, more groups, more romance. And I feel it, too. The ripples in the pond move outward, and I’ve been paying attention only to the innermost circles in recent years, concentrating most of all on family. So there’s an odd sense of freedom and expansion that comes with this new season. Not just for me, but for Aislinn, too, as she begins to really find herself and the things she wants to pursue.
So I’m just a little at odds at the moment, as I feel my way through this transition. Though there are several very sweet men calling me for a date this weekend, I’m probably a little too preoccupied to be good company. Instead, I’m focusing still on home right now and the changes in it. I’ve already met this afternoon with someone who wanted to test-drive Shannon’s old car and on my way home, I stopped suddenly at the plant nursery and bought $8.48 in impatiens at their end-of-season sale. Lots of bright colors–raspberry, orange, pink, red, and pale pink–to put in the six huge pots on the back patio and relish. I do the same every year, and buy them for next to nothing, even with silly people telling me, “Lorna, you’re stupid–it’s the end of the season!” Yet they always last through the rest of August, September, October, November, and sometimes December. And sometimes they come back in the Spring, even though they’re annuals and the winter can be harsh. I have a way of helping things bloom again.
Autumn is coming, and it’s not a better or worse season than Summer, only different. Regardless of the season, I always have flowers blooming in my home, and this nest of mine is never really empty: it is filled with love.