As some of you may remember, I had devoted many of my previous columns to emphasize the “last time” I did certain things. Road tests, parent-teacher conferences, carpools, hockey games, and so on and so on. When you think about it, there are so many milestones that you go through that’s it’s hard to keep track. Like when your first child says his first word (son #1’s first word was “duck”) you remember it for the rest of your life. But then, by the last kid (in my case, son #3), you can barely remember his first anything. (Luckily, I will hopefully always remember that his foot was the length of my thumb when he was born.) Milestones are made even more special if you remember them — life lesson kids, write it all down.
So far, this empty nest thing hasn’t proven to be too horrible. I still have laundry, I still have to make husband #1 dinner (he will say that he only gets leftovers, but leftovers need to be prepared as well!), I still speak to my monkeys almost every day. And then there is Moby, son #3’s fish. He and I have lengthy conversations daily. I wish I were kidding. Fish are very good listeners, and I am convinced that he understands me. I also took a job babysitting this year, which has helped me use my mommy talents. And I am getting really good at sitting Indian-style on the floor and then getting up from the floor. I am also becoming quite skilled at playing go fish.
The first snowfall of the 2019-20 season took place this week. Husband #1 and I watched the forecast, like two old people do. Both of us sitting on the couch. (Don’t worry, we were on different couches.) The fact that we were watching TV in the same room was a big deal. “Do you think it will really snow?” I asked him. “I guess. That is what the weather man is saying,” he responded. “Do you think the boys will have school tomorrow?” “Umm, Banj … none of our boys are in school.”
Yup, there it was. My first memorable milestone of my empty-nest years. The days of worrying about snow days were over. Will they have school? Will there be early dismissal? Will there be a delayed opening? Why haven’t they posted it on the website yet? Will the phone call come at 6 a.m. and wake everyone up anyway? How will the driving be? Do we have enough snacks in the house? Will we lose power? Ahh, feels like yesterday that we would ask all of those questions. And then, when they were all younger and they would have the day off, I became a professional referee for almost every activity — playing mini hockey in the basement, “Stop making your brother cry!” Video games in the family room, “Stop making your brother cry!” Playing a board game at the dining room table, “Stop making your brother cry!” And then when they got older, continually going into their rooms to see if they were ever planning on waking up and starting their day…Those were good times, as two of my boys haven’t missed a shacharit (morning prayer service) in about four years.
I was thinking back to son #3’s last snow day. It was one of those storms that turned out to be worse than they thought it would be, and they decided to close school early. The roads were horrific, really icy, really not plowed or salted. It took son #3 more than an hour to drive the mile and a half home from school, with me calling him every two minutes to find out where he was. I was a nervous wreck until he came home. Of course, after he came home, I discovered that all of his friends’ moms came to pick them up, so they wouldn’t have to drive in the terrible weather. And the mom of the year award does not go to me, again.
Empty nesters don’t have snow days, or, if you are a glass half full kind of person, every day is snow day for an empty nester. (That really doesn’t make any sense, but I thought it sounded poetic.) May all of your upcoming snow days be warm, safe, and full of well-behaved people.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck doesn’t mind that she has no one home to shovel the snow, because even when they were all home, she shoveled it anyway.