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This is the first year I did not have to fill out a permission slip or deal with parent teacher conferences or the other trappings of public school. At this time last year I was staring down the finish line of my youngest daughters senior year. It had been a long time coming. After many years of dealing with three children who were not go with the flow inside the box types (apple doesn't fall far from the tree) I was almost finished. Sure I was worried about the "real world" freak out that seemed to accompany my elder two children. Sure enough it happened but was quickly gotten through. You would think that would make me happy wouldn't you. Well, summer is over and the graduation of my "baby" is a distant memory. Reality sets in.
I used to relish the time spent with the children gone for a school day.A luxury i was able to stretch out for many years due to the age difference between my elder two and my youngest. They are 8 and 9 years older then the baby. Those day were filled with getting things accomplished or not if I didn't feel like it. Now the house is full all the time!
Due to the economy the baby ,as I will call her here, is unable to find work.I am now the proud parent of three "adult" children. These adults live under my roof with the exception of my eldest who comes and goes with seasonal work leaving behind a room full of her belongings. With all the adults in the house we are , for the most part, leading separate lives under the same roof. There are no more dinners together. We are all too busy heading out in different directions.There is no room in the fridge (that's mine don't touch it. Funny how that only goes one way) and separate car keys . The mail is now addressed to all in the household with bills to pay.
It is strange watching my adults. Most adults get to lead their adult life beyond the prying eyes of their parents. It is so hard not to intervene in decisions that you think are detrimental. I try to stay out of it, I honestly do. Mothers were put on earth to make their children's lives easier. I have a hard time drawing the line. So we go on , each living side by side but not always together.
My real fear is never getting "me time". This may sound selfish but I have been taking care of people since I was 16. The two eldest of my adults were both born to me by the time I was 17. My parents are getting older and the realization that I may have squandered any chance of just doing what I want to do is pretty terrifying . I think only beyond the day sometimes to get through this realization or else I am afraid the fear of it will consume me. But for now ,for this day, all adults both old and young are healthy and safe so I think even if all my fears come true it'll be alright. At least that is what I will tell myself for now.

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Comment by Carissa Galow on October 9, 2010 at 5:29pm
Thank you for sharing that, Ericka :) I really enjoyed reading this. And, you know I believe things will be more than alright for you. :)
Comment by Ericka Gray on October 8, 2010 at 5:20pm
Thanks Sheree. You have come up with some wonderful ideas.
Comment by Sheree on October 7, 2010 at 10:29am
Ericka,
You could almost have written my story!! And as I read yours, I kept thinking of my own answers to your questions and my own solutions to your problems!! I was a mother at 17 as well and, just now, my middle "adult" and his fiancee live in my former guest bedroom. Amazingly, I'd just repainted and managed to get two of my empty rooms JUST right before our oldest moved back home with husband and son, then got them repainted again and JUST right two weeks before finding out the middle was coming home!!! All I need is the youngest to call...
I have discovered that my reclusive nature needs to be fed almost daily so, when I can't get "me time" in my own home, I leave. I grab my camera and pick a direction and just drive till I see something interesting. Oftentimes I don't see anything worthy of pulling over, but I find that the drive serves a the solitude I crave.
When they were babies, I would escape to the grocery. I rarely bought anything; I just walked the aisles and read all the strange lables.
No matter what you do you are right, it'll be alright. I saw a glimpse of it and it was WONDERFUL!!!
Comment by wiffledust on October 4, 2010 at 5:00pm
ericka, to me...what you described is LIFE. real, gritty, happy, fun, scary, LIFE. and you are living it. and you are nurturing it. and i can't believe that there is one moment of it you will regret in the long one. i do wish for you creative time as part of your life in addition to all the family time, simply because it re-energizes your soul. and it also benefits the rest of us. but i loved this window you shared into your very real life. thank you!!!!!!

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