The Back to School rush has come and gone and the new school year is well under way. This year there have been a lot of changes for us.
I’m teaching a different grade in a different room with a different team of colleagues. There has been a lot of organization and adjustment involved, not least in just finding things. I keep heading to where I kept glue sticks last year to find the glue sticks just aren’t there. And where did last year’s teacher keep the two hole punch (equivalent of the American three hole punch)? Surely the room was equipped with this vital piece of equipment. If not, it is now.
But the biggest adjustments have been at home. All at once both of our children have moved away. It’s true that our daughter has been testing her wings over the last year or so. She spent four months on an exchange program in Germany and then went to work on farms in Norway and Maryland. So we know she can take care of herself and manage in unfamiliar circumstances. And she’s only an hour or so away, following her dream of art school. But still. Our son has gone slightly farther afield (two hours away) and is thriving on his own. The Boy Who Never Left His Bedroom is now biking to classes. He is grocery shopping. He is hanging out in the common kitchen AND COOKING (real food)! I can not tell you how amazed and thankful I am at this transformation.
Still, it has been rather a shock to the system for my husband and me to suddenly find ourselves alone. It is so quiet. My parents used to say that when I was away at camp or college and I always thought, “I’m not that noisy!” But of course that’s not what they meant and now I know. Yes, there’s less noise but it’s more a feeling of emptiness. We keep expecting someone to walk into the living room. We listen for movement in the morning or the sound of someone rustling around in the kitchen. But all we hear are the neighbors.
I must admit that there are some positive manifestations of an empty apartment. The bathroom sink stays cleaner longer. Laundry isn’t left hanging up until it’s ready to be washed again. Dishwashing is quicker because there aren’t piles of random cups and plates beside the sink that nobody put there waiting for the Dish Fairy.
Overall, it is just …quiet. We can enjoy it, though, because we know both kids are doing well and settling in. I am particularly thankful for that.