Updated: Feb 10
I've written in previous blogs, now long gone, about the 'empty nest' syndrome, that I am now so brutally faced with. Many years ago, I glibly wrote whilst in the thick of raising three kids, two of them teens, that I was excited for them to fly the nest one day and longed for me time, for a clean kitchen, empty washing basket and 'us' time as a couple of very tired suddenly childless parents.
I have been a Mummy since I was 20 years old.
I am suddenly 53.
Today, I sobbed in the shower.
I feel wretched.
I looked at my husband this morning, who is always either working or pottering man style in the garage and wondered if he would notice my pain? He isn't the most empathic man in the world, so probably not and the thought of it just being me and him is pretty overwhelming at the moment. I hope it will pass and we will get busy filling the gaps the kids left together? Finding each other again? Doing the stuff we always talked about such as that GAP year? I have my doubts.
He's not much of a romantic, my man, not spontaneous and not known for booking any excursion, mini break or even a cultural outing of his own volition. I feel, frankly that he needs to buck up or I will soon tire of watching him scroll through those the news blurbs on his phone. I will also soon tire of feeling alone in the house and especially having to find the bacon in the fridge for him that his eyes can't seem to find! I will be refusing to do this 'finding' stuff that is right in front of his nose from here on! I mean, what if I died? Would he be found months later, frozen in panic looking for something? Or will he suddenly find that skill is back in play, because I am no longer here to baby him?
I never wanted to be one half of those couples, that sat across from each other in a restaurant, looking out of the window in sheer boredom. We've always had a lot to talk about him and I.
My youngest phoned me this morning with tales of her university adventures and for a while, I forgot she won't be home till Christmas. I laughed with her as she talked about her flat mates and how she was already sooooo over drinking herself to death during Freshers. From the minute I got up to around 10.45 my Dad and hubby had been watching some serious boring man tv, until I got fed up and shifted them out of the door. Yesterday, not having a dedicated work space for my writing, I got truly fed up of them coming in with booming voices demanding attention! There is no give and take! It has always been this way, but I'm seriously fed up of trying to write, with constant the disturbances! I need a do not disturb sign on my head or a house that gives me my own study!
So I really enjoyed talking to another female! My little one. It was just what the doctor ordered and of course I didn't mention how much I missed her. She's eating okay despite a nasty bout of Bronchitis. Bless her.
I've made sure she has more than adequate cooking skills. So I know she won't go hungry and I'm proud of myself for resisting the urge to ask if she had washed her clothes, tidied her room, or completed that admin list I had left here with, because I know she won't have. She's happy, what more could a mother want?
I've been married to the same man for 33 years, so we've kinda grown up together and its rarely been boring but it has always been stressful, I'm not going to lie about it. The thing that kept me going was raising those beastly kids and the hope that we would be near enough to see how they got on with their adult lives. In December I will no longer own a teenager. I will instead own three adults that were once children, my babies. We of course had our children early on in our relationship, first baby born before our first anniversary and its been a very busy three decades raising three kids and moving constantly. You'd think I'd be ecstatic but I'm not.
I feel a bit flat now.
Yes, I have work to keep me sane during the 9 to 5, but many of the things I thought we'd have licked by now, we don't. I can't believe all we have is a French Wreck I don't love, that we live in a rental which is well out of my comfort zone. I can't believe that I feel as unsettled as I always have but even then I always had the kids to take my mind off it all.
My family and close friends of many years aren't in France, so why are we?
It's a question I can't answer right now.
By now I would have thought we'd have found our happy place. I sincerely want to find it and keep it. Time is ticking, being 53 soon leads to being 55, 60, 65.....and so on!
His business is building, which is good but the nature of it never changes and that adds a constant unpredictability to our lives. I've asked him to consider spending time here and in the UK. I want to be able to see my family more regularly? I think it would help. I'm tired of renting. He's a super persuasive chap my man and sells the possibility of the dream to me, two or three times a year, but it's over four years on since buying the French Wreck already! We are still going nowhere fast. In January we will have been back in France 2 years, back from Canada 2 years already! Sometimes, it feels like a noose around my neck, all this uncertainty.
The banks here in France don't appear to deviate from the rule book at all and so we are faced with waiting for those three long years for the prerequisite company books, before we can buy again. Meanwhile, the market here heats up to the point of boiling and I feel like we are again missing that darn boat! All the moving around we have done, hasn't really helped us get anything really. It's all a blur. I used to look at old school friends, who had married out of school, bought a home in the same village, they had grown up in and wonder? Why didn't they want to travel and discover the world. Who would want to live in the same house for 30 odd years? Could they possibly be happy? Aren't they bored senseless?
Now I realise too late we were the odd ones and we suffered because we never found those roots!
He wants to get on with the French Wreck renovation starting with the barn, rather than sit on it any longer. I suppose it makes sense. The diagnostic reports are in and there is no dry rot issue, thankfully. We both feel vindicated and we hope the buyer that pulled claiming the 'possibility of dry rot' out sorts out her excuses in future! Anyway, we are where we are with time to fill. We need to finish what we started, I guess and then maybe we will be able move on finally! Personally, I'd be happier to spend time in both countries, until we can buy into the authentic French dream for real.
I feel like hell at the moment after being 'glutenised' again! So, I guess this might have a lot to do with how I feel about life at the moment. Physical, mental and emotional health all hang together don't they, and if one or two of the three are out of whack, then you get a bit of a crash moment. I'm definitely in crash mode right now.
I know with certainty that I am not the only person to struggle in the first weeks of 'empty nesting', of course not. Still, the pain of watching 99% of my life time job, suddenly be classed as 'vacant' is real! It hurts. I feel useless. I realise of course this story is as old as the hills, but one I didn't really understand until today. I had a job, it was full time, mostly happy and full of adventure but now I have a huge void to fill somehow?
I need a puppy to raise!
Give me all the puppies!
Life is a rollercoaster isn't it?
Sometimes we just wanna get off! I do!