Sometime in the past few years, I graduated from “mom” to “mom of older kids.” I have one in high school and one who’s almost out of elementary. I don’t run around after anyone. I don’t heat up chicken nuggets. I’m no longer welcome at birthday parties. I look at those around me and sometimes wonder if they are the parents or grandparents and if I look like them too.
My oldest is 14. At that age, she’s prone to fits of rage, and at 45, I am as well. We speak infrequently. She spends 99 percent of her time in her room studying and FaceTiming. Before this year, she was extremely dedicated to cheer, but after a repetitive stress injury in her back, she was forced to sit out this season, which has been hard for us all. But we’re enjoying what is rumored to be the final year before college stress sets in.
My second (and last) is 10. She fills up silence like there’s no tomorrow. She loves everything, from coding to skating to knitting to softball. She became a vegetarian on her own accord and is threatening to ride her bike everywhere if we don’t get a Tesla (we’re not going to).
A few months ago, it dawned on me that in just four years, we will have to pay for eight straight years of college. Since then, I’ve lost my taste for international travel, new clothing, and nice restaurants. At the same time, my husband and I are starting to count down the number of family trips we have left, formulating our 5-year vacation plan.
I work full-time in marketing in the health insurance industry. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I should never ever speak about it in social situations. For fun, I play mah jongg. For exercise, I play tennis. I donate consistently to my gym.
We moved to Scarsdale from New York City nine years ago when our oldest was ready for school. For years, I slept here, but my life was in the city. After a while, I looked around and realized that others had made a home here, and I was missing out. So I joined a volunteer organization, a civic organization, and a non-profit board. I took a tap class and a stand-up comedy class and a knitting class.
The empty nest feels palpable, and I’m preparing as much as I can by figuring out what this post-mommy me is going to be, and how I can get these two (not so) little people ready for life on their own.