Getting Laid Off

My son is excited to be leaving for college in a few weeks. Me? Not so much. Yes, I’m excited for him; I’m just not that excited for me.

It really doesn’t help when people tell me, “You’ve done a good job! He’s ready to go to school! You should be happy for him! This is how it’s supposed to be”.

Yes, but I didn’t expect to lose my job.

I know I’m not technically losing my job, but after spending the past 24 years either being pregnant or caring for my children, it’s hard for me not to feel as if I’ve been fired.

Technically, I’ve never been fired from a job, so I don’t really know what that feels like, but I can pretty much imagine based on the way I’ve been feeling lately, which is a combination of sad, lonely, and nauseated.

The nausea is like “the bookends of being a mother” because I spent both pregnancies nauseated, and here I am again, feeling my stomach lurch its contents toward my throat all day every day.

I know he’ll come home. Even though he says he’ll see me in November, I know he’ll be home before then. But that doesn’t make me feel better about this because soon he won’t be here every day. As it is, I hardly see him at all because he lives in the basement (by choice), and we tend to come and go at different hours. But at least I know he’s here.

I know because I occasionally see his shoes by the back door, usually with Miles’, Kush’s, or any number of his friends’ shoes. I know because the Gummy Bears are all gone, and scribbled on the grocery list in his handwriting is, “Lucky Charms”, “Cinnamon Toast Crunch”, and “Powerade Zero”.

I try cooking his favorite things so that maybe he’ll be home more often for dinner, but I’m such a lousy cook that I can’t blame him for going to a different friend’s house almost every night.

I will learn to cook while he learns about life as a college student. I will be working on my new website and trying to navigate social media while he works to get good grades and navigate a new social life.

I’ve done this before. My daughter went away to school. I handled that transition by openly sobbing as I walked aimlessly through the aisles of Target. Now she lives at home, which is good because I’ll still have one of them here, at least for a little while. But this is the last time I’ll be doing this. Unless my dogs get accepted to a university, I’m out of kids to send away.

Richard walks around the house squealing, “I can’t wait to be an empty-nester” for all to hear, which bugs the crap out of me. I’m not ready, yet, and even if I were, I don’t think it’s appropriate to burst out into song and dance about it in front of the kids.

I am a little surprised by my reaction to the upcoming unpleasantries (for me) because it’s not like I was a helicopter-y stay-at-home mom who did everything for her kids. My kids have been washing, drying, and putting away their own laundry for years, mostly because I tend to turn things pink, but the point is they are fairly independent.

I had a fabulously fun job at the local park district teaching kindergartners whatever I was asked to teach them for the past nine years. I wasn’t always home when the kids came home from school, and sometimes worked special events in the evenings and on weekends.

My kids can cook, drive themselves where they need to be, and make their own doctor appointments. They share a car and are pretty good about making arrangements with each other without parental involvement when it comes to who needs the car for work and when.

They regularly load and unload the dishwasher, and even take care of the dogs if we are out of town — And both dogs take medication twice a day! Maybe those things don’t sound all that impressive, but I’m proud of them for being able to take care of basic things like that.

I guess I have done my job well. I’m just not ready to stop doing it.

Note: If you leave a comment calling me a big baby, I promise you I won’t approve it.

12 thoughts on “Getting Laid Off

  1. try having nine kids, and this Sept, none! but… 2 grandchildren with two more on the way and we always are gathering for meals. p.s you visited the wrong award site you have won the Sunshine Award to brighten your day

  2. I suggest you begin expanding the tribe and have or acquire another 2 or 3 little ones to dote over and train to be functioning human beings.  This has the benefit of curing your soon to be separation issues along with driving Richard nuts with another 18 years of development needs and support.

    One hint…children are cheapest at the movie theater where they are often just $7, sometimes less if you buy one from a matinee.

    From Ken

  3. your job as a mother is not over. it’s arguably just getting started. he is going to turn to you for adult advice on adult things. and the only things you’re giving up, like doing laundry and cooking, it doesn’t seem like you were very good at them anyway. find a role to fill in his life as it changes. you will always be “mom”

  4. Sounds like you’ve done a great job as a mother, and don’t worry– it ain’t over, not even a little bit.

  5. great article….by the way, if you find yourself bored and lonely I could use a personal secretary/houseboy/assistant myself!

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