I ran into my neighbor at the grocery today. She's an older woman -- retired, kids and grandkids all living in other places. I've always found her very sweet, pretty, and friendly. She used to keep a garden across street at the end of our driveway, but it was a big undertaking so she's letting it go. I don't see her much since she doesn't work on that garden anymore, as her house is up a long driveway in the woods. In years past, we'd inspect the maple sap buckets her sons would hang from their maple trees in the spring, but they haven't sugared in a couple years. "The boys are just too busy with their families now," she explains.
She raised her three kids in our neighborhood, along with the people from whom we bought our house. She also worked at the high school for some time, though I can't recall what she did. Every time I do see her, she's always interested in what my kids are up to.
"How old is the baby now?" she asked me today.
"He's in Kindergarten, can you believe it? He is starting to get involved in things like tee-ball...complicates our schedule...". Yada yada yada.
Then she gets a sad sort of look on her face. Like she remembers those days so clearly and is really lonely without them.
I ask about her grandkids, and two are in Vermont (but not in our town) and two are in Georgia. She seems genuinely sad to tell me this too.
She has been watching for frog eggs in her pond so my daughter can collect the tadpoles when they hatch (and watch them grow [die] in a tank). She also mentions that she heard a bunch of kids playing/yelling in our yard the other day, and she thought it was such a wonderful sound.
I'm afraid of being her someday.
Listening to kids playing and wishing they were mine. Knowing that mine are busy with their own lives and not close by.
Clearly, I need to keep tabs on this fear so that co-dependency issues don't stunt either my "growth" or that of my kids. And clearly I need to keep blogging for the next 20+ years so I have something to fill my time in my golden years. Or there's always golf, knitting, and travel.
OK. So I won't worry about it. That's pointless. But I will aim to remember the look on my neighbor's face so that I can better "let it be" and not wallow in being "sooooo busy." In fact, I'd like to take that word "busy" out of my vocabulary because everyone is busy, and it connotes something frustrating and exasperating. And I'm not frustrated by being busy. I like it.
Sidebar: My great aunt Elizabeth's nickname was Busy. I think her parents gave her that nickname when she was young, and we never called her anything but. And from what I remember, she was indeed busy. She wore an apron a lot, so I've always assumed she was busy cleaning. Or playing her organ. Or traveling around the country on bus tours. I wonder if she liked being Busy. She died 12ish years ago, so I can't ask.
So tomorrow, I'll pack lunches, herd kids out the door, work a little, then fill an hour with a craft project in Max's Kindergarten class. Then more work for a few hours. William will be home with strep, so maybe we'll read a chapter in the Harry Potter book we're enjoying together. Then lunch and a long-overdue haircut. Followed by more work. After the bus drops Mia and Max off, we'll tackle homework and an early dinner then taxi to the horse farm for riding and the ballpark for a game. After bedtime, it's likely I'll work a little more. Busy? No. Well, yes, but let's go with engaged, complete, and happy instead.