Just because I have three married children, a self-sufficient, self-supporting, property-owning son living in Kansas, and a daughter who's considering taking a position as a nanny, as well as a son, the last, who is about to leave for farflung parts for two years, and just because I've hit a milestone birthday, and just because I'm feeling some sadness about all of this and considering, finally, renovating or redecorating or some similar "re-" project in the downstairs, doesn't automatically fit me into a category.
You know the category I'm talking about, the one applied to people like me who've raised their kids, and said kids once raised leave. The category that implies "what will she do with herself?" and "how ever will she spend her time?" and "it's a difficult transition for us all, honey." Okay, fine, but it reminds me of when I went to therapy for the first time and I was describing my circumstances and emotions and actions, and the therapist's basic response was, "all of this is symptomatic." Really? Symptomatic? Because I actually thought all those symptoms were my life. My actual, living and breathing, rejoicing and grieving, chaotic and hypnotic life.
My kids? They're not and never were birds, and neither was I. The kids are the people I love the most, who I've got used to talking to on a regular basis, hearing their perspectives, opinions, dreams, rants, and jokes. People I heard wake up in my house, the music of the pipes when they'd turn on the shower, the openings and closings of doors at their comings and goings. Specific people, so their leaving isn't categorical, and neither is my response.
I'm having none of this "empty nest." What's happening is, I'm missing my kids, all right? and I might need a minute, now and then, just to miss them, noncategorically.