Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Empty Nest

I've enjoyed the past two days' posts and believe it or not, I wrote this to use last week and then replaced it at the eleventh hour. It's karma because it fits right in with what Problem Child and Angel wrote yesterday and the day before.

For years I’d heard about the “empty nest” and approached it with mixed feelings. It meant the end to non-stop loads of laundry and herds of boys traipsing through my house, grazing at the open fridge and raiding the pantry of anything remotely resembling food. No more athletic events to attend. No more PTA Open Houses. No more haggling over who got to use the computer.

It also meant saying good-bye to my boys.

I anticipated scads of free time to finally do what I wanted. Now, there is no “i” in team, and I considered my family to be a team. But the team had moved on and it was time for me to be able to pursue some of the dreams I’d let slide in the wake of motherhood. Make no mistake, I believe that raising children is the toughest job on earth, and the most under-appreciated one as well. I have no regrets that I didn’t pursue a big career and climb the corporate ladder. I had interests outside the home but my main focus was my famiy. Yet there I was, with #1 son out of college, engaged to his college sweetheart and making his way in his chosen field, and #2 son well established at an out-of-state university. I made lists and lists of the things I wanted to accomplish. It included projects around the house, books to read, places to go and people to visit.

My mother always said that junk expands to fill your available space, as verified by my overflowing closets (and we just moved into a new house last March). I soon discovered that junk expands to fill your available time as well.

Several years ago I added “writing a novel” to my list of things to do. I’d played around with writing for a long time but never pursued fiction. In 2000, I began writing fanfiction (I can hear the hissing now) but it gave me a place to practice and learn some craft. Then through a bizarre act of serendipity, I discovered romance novels – specifically category romance – and I felt as if I’d found the Holy Grail. Reading romance led to a job as review coordinator for a website and that led to a desire to write my own stories. I found my local RWA chapter, got involved and made new friends.

And then my nest filled back up again. You may have noticed that I’m the Playground Monitor and that’s because they needed someone to keep the “children” in line. Age-wise, I’m right there with the Mavens, but that’s where the similarities end. Age-wise, I could be mother to any of my cohorts in crime at the Playground. But they’ve brushed aside the age difference and included me in their adventures, let me room with them at the national conference in Reno this past summer (and guess who was last in bed every night?), and invited me to join their playground.

We all have something to offer. We balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We offer each other encouragement and support.

I’m part of a team again. And there is no “i” in team. But I sure as hell hope that I can get my current WIP completed and get my PRO pin so that I won’t be the only one on the Playground without one. I feel a little naked.

Happy Wednesday from The Playground Monitor

P.S. Speaking of naked...

Happy Birthday Rocki. ;-)


Problem Child said...

Peer pressure for the PRO pin?

I never thought of it like that.

Kira, get the whip.


Angel said...

Can I have that for my birthday too?


Problem Child said...

I don't know about him...his head seems small in comparison to his shoulders...


Playground Monitor said...

Gripe, gripe, gripe.

For your birthday next year you're getting a picture of the Three Stooges. **gg**

Instigator said...

You know what PC, you're right. Of course, I didn't pay any attention to his...shoulders :-) I was too engrossed in the cake.

And PM, consider yourself whipped!


Instigator - God I love that whip!