7:00 AM

7:00 AM. Someone forgot to inform my alarm clock that it is a holiday weekend. I roll over, try to recapture a dream. Someone forgot to inform my body that it is a holiday weekend; a persistent ache in my neck and shoulder scream for me to get out of bed, get moving. Besides, this is the hour of solitude those “morning people” forgot to share with night owls, like me.

The house is silent. My husband and son sleep soundly, still. I crave coffee, but to turn the coffeemaker on, early, would be to rouse the spirits with the gurgling of its percolator.

7-water Heating water for tea seems the lesser of two evils; I’ll risk that. But tea, first thing in the morning, makes me sick to my stomach – it’s reminiscent of morning sickness, but thoughts of an impending “empty nest” have not yet driven me to an urge to recreate that particular sensation. Nor will they ever.

7-herbal-teaI opt for an herbal infusion, instead. Swedish Berries Tea, from The Coffee Bean. It is a tart, tasty mix of hibiscus, raisins, and an assorted berries that sits well on my stomach before breakfast. As I watch it steep, under the light of the microwave oven, I think about these early mornings, silence and solitude, empty nests, and what adventures the next seven years will bring us all. I begin to do those idle math calculations: when my son graduates from college, my daughter will be in her thirties. Ahh, this is my karmic reward for teasing my father, earlier in the year, with “How does it feel to have a child who is half a century old?”

7-teaFortunately for us both, he laughed and assured me it felt “just fine.” Maybe he realized, even then, it wasn’t so much a taunt as a child’s need for reassurance that the future isn’t a dark and terrifying place. I rarely think it is, except on the mornings when I wake up too early – in the dark before the coffee’s brewed – and feel my bones settling like a house built half a century ago at the intersection of three tectonic plates.

That notion of an “empty nest” finally hit me, last week, as I sent my youngest off for his last “first day” of high school. He is a senior, now, and his thoughts have turned to college. His face is more a man’s face than a boy’s. He is quietly, but definitely, dreaming of places far from home.

I don’t worry too much about being “left behind.” I’m far too young to feel “old” or to believe that each visit might be our last. I’m no teen, deluding myself with immortality – no do I still fear being “old.” And yet, old age and dying are still things that happen to other people. That each morning’s goodbye could be our last was just as true every morning I sent them off to Kindergarten and let them cross a street. I will miss my children when they fly the nest, but unlike their grandparents and great-grandparents before me, who had the added obstacles of exorbitant long-distance charges, land-lines, and inconvenient modes of travel, we have Skype – the new lines in my children’s faces won’t be a shock to me from year to year. We have IM. We have relatively cheap airfare. And who knows – someone may actually invent a teleporter before I’m dead. Wouldn’t that be something?

I like my nest, empty or otherwise. So long as I know that my children are happy and safe, good people surrounding themselves with good experiences and more good people, I don’t need to keep them in the nest, under my wing. This has been the ultimate goal, all along: their independent adulthood. Their freedom to pursue their happiness. I hope that they always want to come home for the holidays – Groundhog’s Day and my birthday are holidays, too, right? They are always welcome and wanted, but I don’t want our home to become the “obligatory annual pilgrimage.”

7-selfMy husband and I have not grown apart over all these years of parenting; our nest will never be truly “empty,” anyway. For a few days, earlier this month, my husband and son were both out of town and I had the nest all to myself. My daughter called to make sure I wasn’t lonely, but just as quickly realized the flaw in her thinking. “You’re never lonely, are you?” she said, laughing. “I’ll bet you’re enjoying this time alone.”

“Well…you know I miss them, but they’re having fun and so am I. I can’t remember ever being ‘lonely.'” I think she understands that, now – having lived on her own for a bit. I breathe solitude, like air. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the company of other people – and the company of my family, more than most; it isn’t that I don’t miss them when they’re not around. I’m just content and happy on my own, as well. I don’t need, so much as want and choose to have them in my life.

 


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. I wasn’t too excited by this theme of “seven,” but it’s funny what thoughts will bubble up, unbidden, to weave themselves into a given “theme.” I might make it through the week, after all.

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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25 thoughts on “7:00 AM”

    1. Thank you, C. I was fortunate, growing up a woman whose parents thought it important to give her a good education, and also to stand back and trust her to make choices in her own life. I chose my husband (and he chose me); WE chose to have children and were blessed with such a wonderful (yes, of course I’m biased!) daughter and son. None of this was foist upon me too young, too unprepared (though are we ever really “prepared” to be parents until we experience it first-hand? Probably not.) But looking back, I’d say that my life has been a series of good choices – not “planning,” per se, but choosing. Yes to this, no to that – and I have no regrets about any of it.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7:00 AMMy Profile

  1. Always hate it when I get up early when I really don’t have too. It must be so hard having your children grow up and farther away. I am not looking forward to that but probably will be ready for it when it comes.

    1. I think it was okay, with my daughter, because I know she’s only a half day’s drive away from us. It’s “reachable” in other words. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when there’s half a continent or more between us. Well – actually, I did get a taste of that when she went to study in Austria, but that was only for five weeks. And that’s as close as I’ve ever come, or wanted to come, to living vicariously through one of my children. I wish I could spend five weeks in Austria…
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7:00 AMMy Profile

    1. 🙂 I remember one of my online friends, just a bit older than my own daughter, fretting over the thought of turning 30. Thank God that’s behind her and she’s realized just how good life can be in your thirties!! I wouldn’t go back in time. Every age is good, in its own way, in its own time.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7:00 AMMy Profile

    1. I can drink coffee any time of the day and still fall asleep in 5-6 minutes, tops.

      I imagine that, if you’re happily married to someone who loves you and will love you through thick or thin, your parents are happy. They’ll miss you, and it may sting when your own family obligations conflict with time that might otherwise be spent with them. But if you’re truly happy, they are probably content. I want to know that my kids won’t NEED me one day, but that they will always WANT to spend a little of their time with me (more than a little, really, if I admit to being greedy and willing to take all of it that I can get). I don’t want them to feel guilty if it’s a choice between coming home to visit or seeing some far-flung corner of the world they’ve never seen, or wanting to share that with their own kids. That’s different, you know, than them wanting to avoid coming to visit at all costs. Having a home of their own, having adventures and pursuing their happiness – these are things I want FOR them, and I don’t want them waiting till I’m dead and their youth is past to enjoy their lives.
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  2. Beautiful post, Holly 🙂

    How was the tea? 😀

    So, your son is leaving for college next year, huh? What subject is he planning to pursue, if you don’t mind me asking? 😀

    I can’t relate to you as a parent, but I certainly can relate as a son. When I was nearing my graduation, I was kind of frightened at the thought of leaving for college. Sure, I would love the independence and all, but I would dearly miss my family. I was relieved later to know that I would be going to a nearby school 😀

    But, perhaps it is for the better? Not the independence, but reality. Living alone will change our perspective. Or maybe not 😉

    I truly don’t know 😀

    Anyways, interesting posting. Waiting to read more 😀

    By the way, Holly, how are you? I just got back to blogging after a long vacation. Are you still participating in guest blogging contests? 😉

    1. Thank you, Jeevan! Glad to hear you’re back at blogging; just don’t get burnt out doing it. I’m not doing any blogging contests, this year. The closest I’ve come is challenging Glipho’s CEO to a hot pepper eating contest – but I have to beat him for the most followers on Glipho first. Help me out? 😉 I’ve also entered a writing contest and should hear the results by 9/15.

      I think my son’s eager to go see a different part of the world (which, fortunately, isn’t quite the same as “can’t wait to get the heck out of the house and away from US”!) He may stay close by for his first two years – he hasn’t yet decided on a college, though he’s been giving it a good bit of thought and recently visited Portland State. (A university that has a good Business program and a Fencing club might be a plus, though his interest in Science and Math are growing, and I’m trying to get him to consider IT Security.)

      Have you graduated, Jeevan – are you done with your studies, now? Surely not yet… I’m going to feel really ancient if you say yes to that.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7:00 AMMy Profile

      1. Of course, not 😉 Of course 😀 What is Glipho anyways?

        That’s great 😀 I have wanted to do that; I do hope to do it in the future 😀

        Fencing, huh? I have got to learn that some day 😀

        Good luck to him 🙂

        I took almost all prerequisite classes during my first years of college, so I can change my major easily in the future.

        No, not done yet 😉 I am in my third year of college. I am not taking any classes right now; I am trying to transfer to a university, and this particular university requires a semester break for their transfers.

      2. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of a university requiring a semester break for transfer students! How odd – mind telling me which it is? (Email, if you don’t want to say in public. I’m just curious, now.)

        As for “what’s Glipho?” – check it out at glipho.com – it’s a newish blogging platform. Very fun, actually. (And don’t think of it as a proposed “replacement” for anything. You can blog, use it as a supplement to your blog – to help entice people to your current one – or just read. There are a lot of really interesting writers there!)
        Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Glipho: Bringing Social Back to BloggingMy Profile

      3. I don’t mind at all – Georgia Institute of Technology 😀 They also list the reason for the requirement – paperwork.

        Oh, okay. I will stop by 😉

  3. I love this post. It’s got all the great ingredients: JJ, your daughter, your father, and W. And best of all your voice. I recommend to all bloggers to have more of solitude and embrace the empty nest. It will most likely result in better writing.

    My favorites are your impish query to your father, your telephone conversation with your daughter and her happy discovery about your healthy rear guard action against loneliness.

    With a mother like you, children even when they’ve become young adults will find their pilgrimage home a pleasure and not in the least obligatory.

    1. I do hope you’re right about that last bit, Jan! 😉

      And no one ate your comments. But here’s the deal: You entered your email address…oddly. Was that deliberate? And we’ve determined that you cannot copy/paste a comment from notepad. You have to type at least part of it in, if you get my drift. I won’t say how much, exactly (spammers might be listening!) but you’ll have to make the keys go up and down.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7 Pictures + 1000 WordsMy Profile

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