I know that the usual definition of the Empty Nest involves grown children going away-away to college or whatever, but it occurs to me that perhaps there should be another use for the term: to describe the experience parents have when their youngest (or only) little monkey joins the rest of the big kids in big-kid school, all day, M - F, fall - spring. That's me. That's what has happened here today. It is very strange. And a little liberating. And a little sad.
After I kissed Lulu goodbye and told her to have fun and watched her walk away with her teacher, I swallowed hard and then found all the other parents who were hovering around coffee and muffins in the media center (we call this the boo-hoo breakfast). I didn't cry, but I did have to swallow hard a few more times.
When that was done, my mind was full of all these things I could do with the rest of my free day: write, read, clean out my car, clean the living room, clean the girls' rooms, go shopping, play on the internet. I opted to go shopping. By myself. And not even look at the toy section or the little cluster of shelves where everything costs only $1. And I bought a candy bar, just for me, that I'm not going to have to share or justify or get someone else something just because I got something. I haven't eaten it yet, but it has been added to my to-do list.
Now I'm playing on the internet and seriously thinking about adding clean the litter box to my list. I could run around and do all those other things on my list (I will probably spend an hour later working on my story), but I think today I'll goof off and do what I want and start my life as a monkey-less grown-up tomorrow. Or the next day...