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I think that the hardest part of not having kids at home is figuring out how to fill that daily void. For so many years, life revolved around kids’ schedules, kids’ school, in general kids’ lives that it’s hard to figure out me again.
Since the boys are so close in age, friends used to kid that it seemed like I was pregnant for a very long time. Hard to remember they would say, when you weren’t pregnant. I understand what they meant now. Hard to remember when I wasn’t a mom. I love being a mom. I will always be a mom but now I have “me” time back so I need to dig deep and find my happy place. Things I enjoy doing that aren’t necessarily mom related.
In this quest, I am trying different things seeing what sticks. One thing that has fallen by the wayside in recent times has been this blog which I started over a decade ago when we moved here. I enjoy writing and promised myself for the new year that I would try my best to post to it every day.
Some days will be witty and well thought out, other days may be more stream if consciousness and I’m sure some will be purely because I have to write something, kind of like self imposed homework. Whatever the day’s inspiration may be, the overarching reason is that I enjoy it, I think I’m fairly decent at it and it makes me happy. Hopefully those reading it will enjoy it too. Since I also like taking pictures and feel I haven’t been doing enough of that either lately, you’ll see a neat photo to go along with the words I write. These were taken the other morning on my way back from my sunrise Rotary meeting. Everything was frosty and beautiful in the drive up the hill.
I am also starting an online Harvard open class course in my “spare” time. Maybe that will be another day’s post.
Today starts the cycle of birthdays here in the Heffernan house. Two of our boys celebrate birthdays 10 days apart. For many years when they were younger, we celebrated their birthdays together with family and friends. I have yet to adjust to the whole college life where birthdays are often spent apart and celebrated together when we can. I do miss hanging the “Happy Birthday” banner and setting up their place at the table with presents for when they woke up.
Twenty years ago this afternoon, we welcomed Tyler to the world. He came bouncing into this world at 5 p.m. and has held my heart ever since. He has the unique spot in the family to be both a big brother and a little brother, something neither of his siblings can claim.
It has been amazing to watch him grow into the young man that he has become and I know that the world is, and will continue to be, a better place with him in it. He has such a big heart and is probably the most empathetic person that I know. He is the strong silent type, soft spoken, quiet and very observant. If you are able to have him flash you one of his smiles, you are lucky indeed because his entire soul lights up with that smile.
It is a privilege to be your mom. I wish I could be there to give you a birthday hug but instead I send a heart full of wishes for lots of love, laughter, happiness and success as you embark on a new decade in your life. You will do great things. I am very, very proud of you and love you with all my heart. Happy Birthday!
Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks.
Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Just click “New Post,” and tell us why you’re here.
My blog is hosted by WordPress. Every once in a while, they offer free blogging courses on a variety of topics. I decided that since I haven’t been as attentive to my blog as I would like of late, this would be a good “kick in the pants” as it were, to make me get back on track posting on a regular basis. The way it works is that every day you are given a prompt and should use it to the best of your ability to post to your blog. Some of the prompts may not be relevant to each and every blog, but you are supposed to extrapolate what can be relevant to you from the prompt and write about it. What appears above is today’s prompt — “Introduce Yourself to the World”
I thought that this prompt was particularly fitting for me considering that, with my youngest son having just turned 18 and heading off to college in the next few weeks and the nest, empty as it will be, looming closer, it is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.
As many of you can relate, for the past 20 years I have been, first and foremost, a mom. It has been (and will continue to be) my most important job and the one that I will have until the day I draw my last breath. I am also an attorney and have been one of those for 27 years but I have no doubt I have put in way more hours as mom than I have or will as attorney despite the difference in actual years of practice. The mom job has been 24×7 since 9:48 p.m. on April 2nd, 20 years ago. In about three weeks I’ll get put on ‘stand-by’ status. No longer will I have to worry (as much) about the day-to-day mom things. All three boys will be off at school. So then, the question becomes, after all this time of being a mom front and center, who am I when they are all off becoming wonderful young adults embracing their new adventures in life? It is a question that I don’t quite know the answer to yet.
I started this blog when we moved up to Vermont from New Jersey in 2006 as a fun way to keep the family and friends in the know as to what and how the five of us were doing. It has grown, as I have, in the ensuing years and it will be fun to see how the blog will morph and change once again when I am officially an “empty nester”. I am hoping that I will be able to get back to posting more frequently.
While I don’t know exactly what this whole empty nest thing will bring, I stand on the threshold, both sad and excited, to see how things will change. I would enjoy hearing from any of you as to how to handled or planned to handle your own empty nest life.
Twenty years ago today, I became a mom. It was the scariest and simultaneously, the happiest day of my life up to that point. I could not believe that the little one twisting and turning inside for so many months had, rather reluctantly, made his way into this world. There were weeks after he was born that literally, I just stared at him in wonder and awe. Through the years, I have watched him grow from that tiny baby into the smart, funny, kind and handsome young man he is today. It is hard to imagine that two decades have gone by since he came into my life. When folks say it all passes in the blink of an eye, you can only understand how true that is when you are looking at it from the other side. I cannot believe that today he is embarking on a whole new decade in his life.
I hope that this new decade brings many wonderful experiences and opportunities and I am sure, knowing what a hardworking and dedicated guy he is, that he will have just that. I couldn’t be prouder of the man he has become and very much honored to have him call me mom.
Happy Birthday TJ! I love you!
Happy Birthday Tyler! It is so hard to believe that 18 years ago today, at this time, we were anxiously awaiting our new baby’s arrival. Tyler, who was in no particular hurry to enter the world (he should have been born on St. Patrick’s Day) arrived at 5 p.m. on March 22nd.
Before his arrival, I could not understand how a mother has enough love in her heart to love two little babies, but taking one look at that face and holding him for the first time in my arms, there was no doubt that I would love this guy (I can’t say “little” since he arrived at 10 pounds 12 ounces) with all of my heart and soul.
and this picture
Tyler has grown into a wonderful young man who makes his mom very proud.
Happy 18th Birthday Tyler! I love you!
Summer is going by fast, especially now that we have actually had some summer type days. Vacation is fast approaching which I am looking forward to enjoying with my guys. It is hard to believe as I look at the calendar that, a month from yesterday, TJ will be off to a new adventure in his life. We will be moving him into his home away from home for the majority of the next year. While I know that it isn’t all that far away, it’s far enough to realize that he won’t be a part of our everyday lives in the same way ever again. (Okay, here go the mom tears). I will definitely miss that. Having had one less kid in the house for the majority of the summer with Tim spending most of his time in other countries this summer, it is definitely odd not having the same chemistry in the house. It will be odd not having all three boys around all (or mostly) all of the time.
Sometimes, life takes you to strange places. Places that you never imagined in your wildest dreams that you would be going. For example, I was asked to speak more than once regarding the integration of children and adults in various community groups. Somehow, and I don’t really know how, I have become somewhat of an authority on this topic, a motivator of sorts. So, as I was walking out the door on Saturday morning, bright and early, to give my talk at a local church group, it hit me. Nowhere, in my wildest dreams, did the thought of me being any type of motivational speaker co-exist in the same sentence. Sometimes, people see you differently than you see yourself. In fact, sometimes, people see you as you could never see yourself.
I was asked to speak a few months ago about some ideas of how to bring younger people into a community group and get them more involved. I agreed to speak, mostly because it was a topic that I was somewhat comfortable with, I am the mother of three teenagers and my boys and their friends are pretty involved kids. They have jobs, they volunteer and they are involved quite a bit in what goes on around them. I taked from experience, from what I know and gave suggestions that I hoped fit into their particular situations.
I, however, do not consider myself any type of authority on this topic. Others evidently do, as evidenced by the responses that I received both times I’ve spoken.
Go figure, life can be strange.
A day where no one argues and you’re made to feel like a queen — oh, alright, a princess (since the Queen is rather old anyway). I personally still feel that Mother’s Day belongs to the mothers in my life – my mom, my mother-in-law – not so much for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was always so sweet to the point of tears when the boys would bring home so proudly the cards that they had made or the bead necklace or potted plant. As they get older, though, it gets more complicated. Someone at school didn’t tell them what this year’s Mother’s Day project would be. They are set to figure out, on their own, how to make it a special day. You have to love them for it. But seriously, a houseful of guys barraging me with questions “What do you want for a gift?” “What do you want to do?” “What do you want to eat?” I dearly love the men in my life, but seriously haven’t they gotten it yet, after all these years? Honestly, whatever they do that day is fine, whatever they cook or come up with or go out and get are all fine. The best gift is the fact that I didn’t have to think of it, plan it or clean up after it. The end result might not be the best or the most delicious (or surprisingly it could be both) but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they made the effort, that they took the time to think about someone besides themselves, which is difficult at best for teenagers.
Tonight, I am getting a dinner and dessert cooked by the men in my life.
We had a delicious dinner of steak tips, rice and salad that Tim so graciously and deliciously cooked for me, set the table and decorated it with his Mother’s Day card.
TJ and Alex made dessert…….
The men are all cleaning up as I type this….. and then to snuggle up together for a family television show. A good day…..to be a mom.
Today is my mom’s birthday. This year, we won’t be together for New Years as we usually when we celebrate her birthday. The celebration will have to wait for a week or two until I see her, but I wanted to post here to wish her a very happy birthday.
I miss her since we are so far apart and look forward to her visits and when I visit her. She is a kind, generous woman who I am proud to call my mother.
Happy Birthday Mommy! Love you!
When all else fails, blame Mom. At least that’s the way it seems sometimes. Middle son, who could truly sleep his entire life away, gets up at 10:30 angry at me that he wasn’t woken up at 8 to go snowboarding with his friends. First, how did I become the family alarm clock? Second, his snow clothes which he threw up on yesterday are still wet, since no one took them out of the washer to hang dry. Third, we had plans for a nice family day but offered (before we remembered about the wet clothes) to drop him off there despite it being my fault which still wasn’t an acceptable response. Jeez…..
This, being the first morning in I cannot remember how long, that we decided to sleep in (a relative term in our house) and let the kids do the same. This gives total credence to my claim that if I didn’t get up in the morning (or dropped dead in my sleep and couldn’t wake up in the morning) that no one would move in the house.
Well, seems the day is off to a wonderful start….
Well, we are back from the oral surgeon’s office. He is very nice and put TJ and us at ease. There will be no need to have the orthodontist move his teeth to get at the ankylose tooth. For those that don’t know exactly what the heck I am talking about, let me back up. TJ my oldest has an baby tooth that does not have an adult tooth underneath it. Consequently, it has been submerging and is now what they cause ankylose, or fused to his jawbone. Ouch. Hence the oral surgeon, since they will be quite literally sawing it out of his head. The surgeon says that he will split the tooth in the middle and then extract it in two sections. He explained to TJ everything he will do and everything he will be hooked up to, so there are no surprises. He took it better I must say than I. My baby under general anesthesia and I have to sit in the waiting room, hoping and praying that all is well. Not in a mother’s nature, you know. I want to be RIGHT there, watching and knowing that he is okay. Can you imagine, God forbid, if one of them actually needed surgery, surgery? I think that the surgeon would need to supply me with some nerve medicine to calm me down ahead of time. Well, next Thursday is the day and while I know that all will be fine, as a mom I will still worry until I see for myself.
Motherhood or parenthood, certainly has its ups and downs. I had to be “mom the cheerleader” again tonight when I went to visit my boys at scout camp. Our youngest son is having some terrible homesickness going on and following last night’s phone call, tonight’s visit was not high on my list of favorite experiences. It is heartbreaking to see this little boy with tears in his eyes, actually streaming down his face, telling you that the only thing in the world he wants to do is come home and snuggle up with you. Dear god, I just wanted to cry. Instead, muster up “mom the cheerleader” who has to tell him to be brave, to stick it out that he is more than halfway done and that we are very proud of him and he has both his brothers there and lots of friends and friendly faces. Then, in true spirit, he attempted to be brave, at the end of the evening, gave me a hug and kiss and wandered off with tears in his eyes. OH MAN, talk about bumming. Then I had to get in the car and drive an hour plus home alone just thinking about that face. Geez, for all the wonderful ups to parenthood, this is definitely one of the bummers. “Mom the cheerleader” is most positively one of my least favorite mom roles, ’cause it usually entails me trying to talk one of them into doing something that I would rather not have to be a cheerleader about. They are growing up so fast and are not my little boys anymore, so it is heartbreaking to have to push aside those last remnants of little boy/mommy interaction when I know that they will very soon be gone forever from my life. All in the name of growing up…..is growing up all that great, anyway? Sometimes, I don’t think so myself. Hard to be a cheerleader about that.
BTW, just read in the online paper that there is some armed and dangerous felon on the loose nearby….great time to be alone in the house, don’t you think? Boy, if I stay up any later, I might not sleep at all tonight.