Three years and I'll be ready for Flats so I'm buying heels!

This popped up in my Facebook memories one Thursday and a realization it struck me. In three years, if all goes as it should I'll be here in this house without children for the first time since 1990. 

That's right. My first daughter was born in October of 1990 and my youngest in October of 2005. I have had children in the house for thirty years at this point and easy math tells you it will be thirty-three years of parenting in the house, primarily on my own for most of them, by the time the last fledgling hops out of the nest and takes flight. 

Who was I before children? I don't even know that girl. Certainly not who I am now. And not who I want to be either but it seems like that carefree, hard-playing, beer-drinking party girl with not a single responsibility in the world is a stranger. 

When she's back, older, altered, and high on life rather than alcohol, I think I'll just leave the house every day without telling people I'm going. I'm going to enjoy the lack of other people's things messing up the newborn clean after I finish a tidy. It'll just be me and my husband. 

Will I be lonely? 

Of course. We all are to some degree and Lonely stalks me like a rejected lover. It lingers around most of us but the key is to never let that sucker have any influence. Many a stupid decision is made after loneliness whispers it in your ear. Fortunately, I am my own best companion. I always have been. I've never found another person who could be the intimate close companion that I could share things with, who wouldn't judge it. I tend to throw all of that into fiction characters, their secrets are my secrets, their pain mine, their joy pulled from my own happy times. I take the loneliness and push it into books and close their covers against its voice.

It's an interesting thing, to observe the transition. It was a strange feeling to know I could go to a writer's retreat in August and leave the two teenagers home alone without a worry.  It's odd to know that in a few months the older one will have her driver's license and can take over the bulk of the driving leaving my days less interrupted. How now they take responsibility for their own food more often than not, have friends picking them up to go places instead of begging me for a ride, and have developed their own lives with amazing friends. Heck, the oldest one already has been accepted into her university of choice in the program of her choice and the younger one is already exploring the audition process for the art school she's interested in attending in three years. 

And the older ones are raising beautiful families already, bringing me joy through my four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

I'll be a sobbing mess when the last baby goes but I'll also be ready for that next big adventure, the brand new solo mission with nobody to care for except the cat. 

Meanwhile, I keep writing in between domestic chores and driving kids. Take the pleasure of the days, keep that bastard Lonely knocking at the door, feeding him only crumbs and allowing him entry into my life only when it serves my stories.

It's always all about the stories.