How “To Do” This Week?
This was a bittersweet week for me. The last week with my two children home before they both head off to college. Come Monday I will be an “empty nester”. Each day with your children is precious, but when you get down to the last seven you savour them one by one. As I’ve mentioned here before, I am a member of a fabulous online professional organization and textile resource, TAFAlist.com Last week I came across the blog of new TAFA member, Kelly Darke, from Michigan (my home state). I love this posting of a “To Do” list created by her 7 year old son. I knew this was going to be a challenging week for me, so I followed his suggestions and they were just perfect! Read my mini-journal for my week:
Sunday: Sing a Song!
Today I went with my daughter Audrey (soon to be a freshman Gopher) to a University of Minnesota Chicago area send-off picnic and learned to sing the Minnesota Rouser (fight song) I also learned the meaning of Ski-U-Mah!
Minnesota, hats off to thee!
To thy colors true we shall ever be,
Firm and strong, united are we.
Rah, rah, rah, for Ski-U-Mah,
Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah for the U of M.
Yay, Gophers! RAH!
Monday: Play Minecraft
Spent the evening playing Minecraft with my little (20 yr. old) boy. Heath is headed to his junior year of college this Friday. He is studying computer science. So, this was a perfect bonding activity. For the most part I can’t quite understand the interest in “virtual worlds” but I created mine and named it “Pamdemania”. Heath almost got me hooked when I discovered that I could collect dead squid ink to dye wool. Decided I better quit before I find out I can raise sheep and build a spinning wheel….If only there was a way to end up with a real sweater in the end.
Tuesday: Play Tag
Played an unconventional game of tag today. We have been squeezing in doctors, orthodontist, eye doctor and dental appointments before my kids leave town. Today was the trip to the dentist office. First in the chair for her cleaning, Audrey. When she was done, I took my turn with the hygienist. And then Heath finished up with his turn. Sadly, he needed his first filling. I also played phone tag with my sister who lives in Michigan. We never did get more than just a hello in before we had to go on to something else. Maybe next week I’ll have a long conversation with her after the kids are back at school.
Wednesday: Wake Up Early
Little did I know that would mean I’d wake up at 2 am, lay there for several hours thinking of the things I need to do in the next couple of days before my kids go off to college: shopping, laundry, banking, etc. Then my brain started churning all the things I probably should have done for them over the last 20 years. It’s amazing how “mommy guilt” can sneak up on you in the night! On the plus side, after not much sleep I did manage to get up at my usual time and go for a 3 mile run. Then I came home and helped my daughter dye her hair. (Probably not the most crucial thing to prepare her for college. but she wanted to do it and it was nice mother/daughter bonding time). On a side note: It was a full moon last night, and I always have difficulty sleeping for those few nights each month.
Thursday: Think About Epic Stuff
This sounded like fun, but seemed to be the most challenging item on the list. Every time I let myself think I start to get teary over my children heading off toward their futures. I’m so proud of them and excited for them. Although I’m excited about the next chapter in my life too, I am sad to see this chapter ending. I tried to give some thought to EPIC things I can accomplish now that the load of my responsibilities will be lightening up. (Fixing dinner for two will be so much easier, faster and efficient than fixing it for four, right?). I think it is a case of one door closing and another opening up. I’m just not seeing past the doorway right now. And as much as I try to “think epically”, I’m just not able to envision it yet.
The better part of today was spent back to school shopping with my daughter. She got some new jeans and sweaters and I found a few bargains too. With her new hair and her big brown eyes she looks like a Japanese Anime’, so I thought sushi for lunch would be appropriate.
At the end of the afternoon I dropped Audrey off to her babysitting gig and went to pick up my son, Heath from his last day at his summer job. We stopped by the nearby coffee shop for an afternoon break and a chat. He took last spring semester off from the university he had been attending and lived at home, going to the community college instead. Just a minor detour on his college path. Everything is going well and he is heading back to his university tomorrow and plans to live with “some guys” in their first dumpy college apartment (oops, I meant bachelor pad). I’ve enjoyed having him home again for the last 8 months. He is an easy-going, quiet guy, whose brains and muscle are handy to have around! I know this is best for him and I’m anxious to see him get “back on his track” again. With both kids headed off just a couple of days apart, it sure feels like a “double whammy”.
Friday: Fun Day
Today we packed the car and drove Heath over to Northern Illinois University. He is living off campus this year, so after we moved his things in we headed to get him some groceries. Audrey rode along and we had lunch together before heading back to an eye appointment for her and some last-minute supply shopping at Target. Traffic heading back into Chicago was nasty (usual Friday afternoon stuff). And try as I might to have fun today, I was tired with the moving, shopping, waiting for the eye appointment, traffic and mostly the emotions of letting one child go again. At the end of the day, it wasn’t my funnest day. After dinner I took the dog for a long walk and got 12,863 steps in for the day. That felt good as I haven’t been reaching my goal of 10,000 steps each day this week.
Saturday: Sleep Until 8:00 am
As the last couple of days have been a bit of a challenge, it was nice to have something on the list that was easy to accomplish and get it out-of-the-way first thing! I got out of bed at 8:01 and enjoyed a nice start in the hot tub with the newspaper and my husband this morning. Made us a couple of latte’s and then we decided to head to the golf course for 9 holes. We took some golf lessons together this spring and I am trying to get the hang of it. My husband golfed in his youth and this seemed like a nice way for us to get some time together and some physical activity. We have been going over to the Chicago Park District Course at Columbus Park just a short distance away from home. I try to approach it with a zen “no expectations” attitude and with a goal of getting in some “steps” as well as spending some outdoor time. That is not to say I haven’t been frustrated at times, and want to start seeing some improvement. But, by way of enjoying the great outdoors, last week we made a new friend on the fairway. This coyote followed us for a couple of holes. Fascinating to watch wildlife in the urban jungle of Chicago!
So, this was my week. As you can tell, not much of it spent in the studio. Tomorrow we pack the car again and head to Minneapolis to deliver our freshman daughter to the University of Minnesota. She starts her life and I start a new chapter in mine. Yes, I am still wife, daughter, artist, teacher, and mother. But I will be mothering from a different place. I move into the consultant role. What has been my focus will be peripheral. So, what will I bring into focus? Next week I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio to find out or at least to enjoy some “art as therapy” time. I’m sure my thoughts will wander elsewhere, wondering what my kids are up to now.
Welcome to TAFA, Kelly Darke. Thank you and your son for the inpiration into how to get through my week. He sounds like he is wise beyond his 7 years. Treasure your days together. And if you wonder some days how you will find time to create your art around your obligation to “mother”. Don’t worry, before you know it he will be heading out of the nest. They do that, whether you are ready or not.