Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the Old

Changes are a part of life. Learning how to deal with them gracefully, I think, is the secret to a happy life.No matter how we may rail against the injustice of the ticking clock, if we're lucky, tomorrow will still arrive right on schedule.

In the past few years we have been navigating the changes from parenting to advising. My husband likes to remind me that having independent grown sons is exactly what we were working towards. Last summer I realized that I had been putting everyone else first for practically my entire life.

Now, to be clear, I am not whining about that. I have adored being mother to my children. Although they could be exhausting at times, I have loved almost every moment of their lives, even with their ADHD and alphabet soup of learning disabilities and differences. Some would say it was a luxury to be a stay-at-home mom, and maybe it was, but we did without a lot of things so that I could focus all of my energies on these boys. But, I must admit, indulging myself this year has been rather delightful.

It's been a couple of years since the last fledgling flew the coop, and I'm just now embracing our lovely, empty nest. It's kind of nice to put food in the refrigerator and find it still there a day later. I can wear my pretty night gowns without scarring the boys for life, and have (except for the very coldest nights) retired the pajamas that Kent called the husband repellent.

What used to be a noisy, filled to the brim home now feels empty and too big. The huge yard and gardens that have given us so much pleasure over the years now seems overwhelming to keep up. In short, we are considering a relocation, to a smaller home with less upkeep. The problem is, every time we try to define the type of house we'd like to find it turns out to be this house.

We've known for over a year that Kent's job could take us anywhere. We may end up staying here in Saginaw for years to come, or the current contract could end in June with a new assignment in a new town. In a lot of ways we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop, a handy way to justify making no decision at all.

To make ready for what ever may come, we've been doing a lot of cleaning out. I've never been terribly sentimental, so there's not a lot of ephemera to cull. In November, my BFF mentioned a charity looking for orphaned projects, UFOs, fabric and yarns no longer needed. I sent her several boxes of stuff that could happily live elsewhere. As I taped the boxes closed I felt a great sense of relief.

I suppose it's rather weird, but I like throwing things away. Whether it goes in the trash, or off to charity, I love the sense of space that cleaning out gives me. It reminds me of the saying: you can't receive into clenched fists. Letting go of stuff (both the physical and metaphysical), opens me up for new.

I've always liked ringing in the new year with a clean house. We seldom keep the Christmas decorations up past New Year's Day. This afternoon I'll be changing the sheets on the bed and sifting through the pantry for food that has expired. As I work, I often reflect on the past year, as a way to package it up into history.

Even though it has a fancy name, tomorrow is just tomorrow. It's a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to begin anew, just like every other day. I'm looking forward to the new adventures all these tomorrows will bring. We can plan all we want, but we can never really know what the future will hold. I kind of like it that way.


  1. Happy New Year, Beth! I hope 2014 brings you and Kent exactly what you need when you need it. Blessings!

  2. Dear Beth,
    I relate so well to some of the changes and new prospects you are approaching and experiencing with the passage of time and the emptying of the nest. We too are considering where we want to spend the next part of our lives. Unlike you, I have been a collector of many things for a variety of reasons, none of them very sound. I've begun the process of paring, but it is a difficult cut for me. I wish you and yours a new year filled with love and new adventures. I will miss seeing your BOMs but there is a time for each thing in our lives. Our bed is coveres with one of those years, but for the life of me, I don't know which