This is the time of year when you see men and women, tears rolling down their faces, standing on street corners watching their children leave them for the big, wide world.
Yes, it is back to school time and while some of these parents may be crying tears of joy, others are crying because their children are leaving them for the first time. Some of them, specifically those who have been stay at home parents and have either their only child or their last child going off to school for the first time, will find themselves rumbling around a big, empty house wondering how to pass the hours or wondering how the hours go by so fast, depending on their attitude toward this whole situation!
I always wanted to be a mom who stayed home and used to dream about the days when my last child would go off to school and I could do the things I wanted to do during the day. But as it turned out, I worked 12 months a year, so going to school just meant one less childcare bill and one more thing to figure out no rumbling around an empty house for me.
Spending the days alone after they have been previously filled with meeting every need of your children can be both intimidating and exhilarating. Suddenly you have time to do whatever. Suddenly it is very quiet. Suddenly nobody is yelling your name demanding whatever it is they are demanding at the moment. You feel happy because your child is going out into the world, sad because you miss them, and guilty because you feel just a little bit of relief that you have some time to yourself. It is a crazy time. So now that school has started and some of you are out there alone, or alone again as the case may be, here are some ideas for you to keep yourself busy (because I am sure that you have nothing to do).
• Watch a little Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil. It will make you appreciate your life. You thought YOU had issues.
• Clean out your closets. You know you are not really going to ever wear those things again, ever. Accept it, get rid of it.
• Take a nap. It's okay, nothing to feel guilty about.
• Start that scrapbook you have been meaning to do.
• Organize all those pictures you have been taking since your child was born. This will also give you a chance to look longingly at those baby photos and cry a bit to get it out of your system.
• Watch all the shows you have recorded for the last year but have not yet had a chance to watch. Eat chips or ice cream while you watch them.
• Create menus for the next entire month complete with grocery lists. It will make you feel like you have accomplished something even if you don't follow them.
• Sit down and have a good cry. Just get it out. Cry really loud so your neighbors can hear you.
• Have a little party. It's just you, so have a little margarita (but just a little one, they will be coming home soon).
• Read that book you have been meaning to read for the past five years and have never been able to get past the first page.
• Dance around in your underwear to all those songs you loved in high school and/or college. Just be sure to shut your blinds. You want to be there when your child gets out of school -- not in jail.
• Celebrate that you have gotten your child this far. Be proud of yourself and of everyone else who has helped you raise him or her.
In the end, being alone is not so bad. I promise that when your child is 25 and comes back to live at home you will have great longing for these days of being alone. So enjoy them while you have them. Bask in the silence, enjoy the flood of your tears, and feel the pride in raising these children and sending them off to the big, wide world. You've earned it!