I should probably wait to write this post when I'm not so emotional. But that's what we writers create, isn't it? Emotion, the spiritual and mental heartbeats of our characters-the characters whom (hopefully) readers care about and root for. Today, I'm writing about my own emotions-feelings of sadness and pride and inevitablity, and even grief. This afternoon, my oldest child, my 23-year-old son Jim, left for Vienna, Austria. Not just a pleasure trip to Europe, but a move that could quite possibly be permanent. He's in love with a wonderful Austrian girl, whom he met when she was an exchange student at his college. She had to return home, Jim has completed his two degrees, and he's decided to go to Austria to be with her. He hopes to find a job teaching Enlish as a second language, and has very good odds of success, as there is supposedly a demand for native English speakers. Plus he's going to have a wonderful time there, stopping in London for a few days to visit a friend, vacationing in Italy with his girlfriend and her family. He plans to travel and see the world. What opportunity! What fun! And oh, to experience young love again!
So I'm also feeling wistfulness, wishing I could go explore the world. And I'm feeling old (and overweight, and staring at gray hair roots), and I know a part of my life is over. I'm not really Mom any more. Yeah, I'll always be Jim's mother, but I won't ever again be a main player. And our house is no longer his house. As long as he was four hours away in Austin, I knew he would come home for holidays, and we could always go down there to see him. He still had his room at "home". But this weekend, we cleaned out his room, and his closet, and his chest. He packed up books to give away, cleared out a large part of his life. Some of his clothes and books remain, but I suspect they'll go in the next "pass", and then all traces of it being his room will be gone forever.
Even though I know life will go on, I feel bereft, empty, and even without purpose. Regrets, too, that I didn't do more as a mother, make more memories, take more pictures, capture more special moments, etc. There's a sadness in knowing I can never go back, can never reclaim lost opportunities. And a fear that maybe I'm getting too old to have more opportunities, that my best years are gone. Empty Nest Syndrome-big time. I know a lot of these feelings will pass, and that I'm moving on to a new phase in my life, but I'm not sure what the new me wants to do. Or if I'll have the energy and the creativity and the excitement that I had when I was younger.
But I can't give up, can I? I have a lot of good years left (so I keep telling myself). Getting better with age, right? Still, I'll grieve for that part of my life that's gone, and my heart will ache for a while. I'll indulge myself in chocolate and wine, before I get back on the diet (those 10 pounds just won't go away). And back to the exercise (geez, get a little older, and the body falls apart). And I'll resolve to make the remaining years count, to try to live them to the fullest and savor life. I'll try to regularly use my favorite Hebrew phrase: L'Chiam - To Life!
And you know . . . I think I might just keep on writing. Creating characters, stories, emotions. I've got lots of fodder for the emotional part!