I knew this would happen.
They warned me, “Enjoy this time now because it goes by so fast!”
I kindly smile at them then turn around and roll my eyes.
If only; if only they knew everything I had to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
“They don’t understand!” I thought.
It’s the middle of the night.
I roll over and see it is 3:00 a.m. Sigh.
I am not awake because a newborn needs me.
I am not awake because I want to check on the kids and make sure they are ok; that their blankets are covering them.
I am not awake because a child is vomiting all over the place.
I am not awake because I need to work for my job because I could not get to it during the day due to the kids’ schedules.
I am merely awake because my body has been trained to be awake at this time for twenty some years.
“What is today going to look like?” I ponder to myself.
“Oh that’s right. Nothing! It’s going to look like nothing because I have nothing to do a-gain.”
After hours of tossing and turning I get finally decide to get up.
I jump in the shower and just stand there for what feels like hours.
The hot steam surrounding me seems so unfamiliar.
“What is a hot shower? Have I ever even had one?”
I get dressed and head downstairs for some coffee.
I finish my coffee as I listen to the news.
“OMG! I actually finished a cup of coffee while it was hot!”
“It’s not even 8:00 a.m. and I’ve already learned about everything going on in the world.”
I jump in my car to go to mass.
“My car is clean. How is this possible?”
As I drive the rain drops fall down. I can hear them so clearly.
This new perpetual sound of silence is deafening.
I begin to tear up. It’s all hitting me again.
I go to mass and naturally head for the cry room.
But then I remember I have no children.
I go to the pew and the mass begins.
Finally I am actually able to hear not only a word of mass but the entire mass yet I chose not to.
Instead I am enamored with this cute little family in front me.
The mom is nursing the baby while her toddler tries to run off.
I will never nurse again. I will never know that feeling again.
My instinct is to help her with the toddler but it’s not my place.
I am not her. I am not the new mom. I’m the old mom. I’m the grandmom. I’m the church stranger.
I cry. I cry because I long to get those days back again.
I head to the grocery store.
I no longer have a need for a babysitter while I run my errands.
No more do I need two carts; one to carry kids and one to lug groceries in.
The cashier tells me my bill for my weekly grocery bill. “49.83, ma’am.”
“Oh…so now I’m a ma’am, eh?” As I hand him my card.
What once was a $600 bill is now less than $50 bucks.
I giggle to myself thinking I should be happy about this.
I head home and taking the groceries in one load I proceed to put them away.
Empty cabinets. Empty fridge. Everything is empty.
No more ravenous teenage boys around to eat all my groceries in two days.
I go to unload the dishwasher but there are no dishes there because I no longer need to use it.
It’s just the two of us now. We can hand-wash the dishes.
The house is already clean; no straightening even to be done.
There are no crayon marks on the walls for me to wash today.
There are no holes for me to patch.
The only hole that is present is the one in my heart.
I run upstairs and take the laundry out of the dryer.
It takes me five minutes to fold and put the clothes away.
There are no socks needing to be sorted or put in a special odd-ball section.
There are no beds in need of being stripped and re-made.
There are only empty rooms.
I decide to lay down and take a nap because that is what I have done every day since I became a Mom.
I stare at the ceiling contemplating whether or not to call one of my children.
“Will they think I am too needy?”
“Will I be bothering them?”
Instead I chose to just lay there.
I scroll through my phone… no missed calls.
I try to sleep but I can’t. I can’t because for the most part I did get a solid night’s worth of sleep.
After a short time, I opt to go into my basement.
I pull out the kids’ cubbies with dust on them.
“To Mommy on Mother’s Day. I love you mommy because you are my best friend and you make good food! Love, Bella”
I burst out crying. I crumble to the ground my tears completely soaking up the memento.
I cannot stop crying.
My house is empty.
My womb is empty.
My heart is empty.
I hit myself because I didn’t enjoy it. I was always working, always doing, always being…everything to everyone, all the time.
I curse to myself. I am filled with deep regret.
I cannot take back time.
I decide this may not be the best thing for me to be doing so I put the cubbies away and decide to look for a recipe to make us for dinner.
I no longer need to worry about picky eaters so what do I make?
As I begin to cook my husband walks in.
He comes over and kisses me from behind and wraps his arms around my waist.
I take in the moment thoroughly. A moment that rarely ever happened when our kids were with us.
This. Yes this. This is one thing I did look forward to and one thing I enjoy immensely now.
I am blessed. We are blessed.
We talk about our day; his being much more exciting than mine because he still works a lot.
As I watch him while he is talking I have a tad bit of envy of him.
He has the twinkle in his eye.
His heart is full. It’s full of endless amounts of memories he made every single day with his kids.
“He must have no regrets…” I think to myself.
“I should have been more like him. He warned me; he did warn me.”
We clean up instantaneously and I decide to go do some work on my computer.
As I look at the calendar I realize how soon Halloween is coming up.
Then I remember and begin to think of the holidays or more like holi-daze right now.
No more blowing a million bucks on costumes that may not even last until Halloween.
No more Santa Claus.
No more Christmas magic, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy.
New year’s? What is the freaking point of New Year’s now?
I have lost all the weight I needed to.
I have stopped screaming.
I have stopped drinking too much.
Nope, now it’s just empty empty holi-daze.
After I do my work I get ready for bed and begin to pray.
I thank God for the day.
I thank God for my life.
I thank God for my husband, our children and our grand-children.
I then have a blunt conversation with Him reminding Him about how He gave them us but the world took them from me! They took them and kept them all for themselves!!!
I scream to Him, “The world is full of them! MY CHILDREN. MY Priests. MY Religious. MY grand-children.” And yet I remind Him that I am now here, empty in an empty nest.
He finds it amusing that I still talk to Him this way after so long. I grin then pout.
“It will get better,” He says. “Trust in me.”
“Ok,” I say. “Talk to you tomorrow. Same place; same time. It’s not like I have any plans, unfortunately,” as I wink and blow Him a kiss goodnight.