Momager. Helicopter parent. Vacuum parenting.
These are things I would like to avoid.
When we were in NOLA, I purposely left The Child alone. Yes, I sent her a text now and again to remind her to maybe get something to eat, but for the most part, she and her new friends were together, and I was working in the balcony, or wandering around myself. It reminded me a bit of softball - endless waiting, computer or trashy magazine on my lap, killing time.
So I started thinking about this whole waiting business. This is sort of what you do as a parent, I suppose, at least until the kids are old enough to drive. I think this is why parents drop off after middle school so drastically - to gain some time for themselves. It is exacerbated being a single parent (yet another thing I took for granted); there is no one to step in and give me some time off (unless The Child hangs with a friend, which she does on occasion and I am grateful but it may not appear so because I drop her off and then speed out of there as fast as I can to have a few precious hours alone because even though I love The Child sometimes I want to murdilate her and her 13-year-old ways).
More than a meditation on waiting, the thinking had mostly to do with what is next for me.
It is hard to say what interests me these days, so it is hard to say what I want to do with my free time. Mostly I write and work on the tiny house and cook and avoid cleaning and that's about it. Sometimes I will hike and do some yoga or read or stand around and stare at the sky. I only paint on very good days because I am an awful critic of myself, and that's just not helpful.
This stage of the whole process reminds me of my early 20s, casting about, trying to figure out WTF. Except now I have grey hair, my back hurts sometimes, and I am drunk after one bourbon. So a cheap date but also a little sad.
Being at TEDYouth and talking to all of those interesting people made me want to get into something again, deep into something compelling and creative (and portable, because I do still have several years of waiting on The Child left no matter how I slice it). I miss teaching, but I don't miss the stress of running the school. I would like to travel, but no matter how good I am at a budget that is not a long-term possibility (well, maybe. I could probably do it). Eventually The Child will walk out through the doors I am opening for her, and I want to be able to let her go without panicking about what I am going to do without her around.
Nothing worse than someone whose entire existence rests in their child.
I think that it has been hard for me (and for her, to some extent) to leave the bubble we have constructed around us for the past nine months, but something changed this past weekend, and we are both ready for something. Not sure what, but something.
As Tom Petty said, "Waiting is the hardest part."