This is not the way I pictured it.
I'm talking about my life as Eric and I approach our Twilight Years. Which are really more of a pale yellow at this point, but that's not important right now.
Here's how I pictured it:
My kids would all be grown and gone. I have never had any illusions that they'd stay home forever. That would be just plain weird.
But I did picture them living nearby. And they'd be coming over for a weekly family dinner. And we'd sit around the table and I would bask in the love and fabulousness of the beautiful family I'd created. And we would grow. And the table would stretch to accomodate more. It would all be super noisy and delicious and there would be lots of laughter and smiles.
And that would be how Eric and I would live out our Twilight Years. Happily surrounded by our growing family and maybe investing in a bigger table.
But obviously God (and my growing family) have other plans for this whole Twilight Years business.
As you know, Amy Kikita moved to Florida last year. See this post about Changes. I wrote about all that last August and now, just recently, there have been so many more changes. Which is where I find myself today - thinking about all of this and questioning my Twilight Year Plan.
From that writing to now, Amy has landed a job in Sacramento, California. 400 miles away, but now she's at least on our coast and is only a one hour flight away. She's busy shopping for an apartment and furniture and settling in to her new (from the sound of it) Hipster lifestyle.
Adam has taken a job in Washington D.C. with the Susan B. Anthony List. I'm quite excited for him as this is a great opportunity, but of course, that means he is clear across the country. Alysha and the baby are still here as he looks for a place to live, but they'll be leaving in about a month. I will miss them terribly. Especially my grandson, Asher.
However, we are happily offering our babysitting services as often as Alysha will let us.
Lucy moved out last September (see this post about Finding Her Place) and is adapting well to her new digs. She's also only a few minutes away right here in Mission Viejo, but she's busy starting her own graphic design business, so I have to bait her with use of my washer/dryer and food. It's working so far. (Food always works.) Who knows what her next adventure will bring?
Jonathan is in school and going from audition to audition, which means driving to Hollywood a few days a week. Some days I'm lucky enough to be called upon to be his carpool buddy. But I'm picturing the day he needs to move up there permanently. For now, he's still here with us.
But who knows for how much longer?
Here's how I'm dealing with all of it...
The weekend that Adam was set to leave, I bought Amy a plane ticket to come down and scheduled a family photo shoot and going away dinner.
I contracted our friend and Master Photographer, Dan Shalaby to document the magic and we spent a few hours down at our favorite beach frolicking and posing. Or photobombing. Or just having fun together.
I just wanted one last hurrah before everyone went their separate ways.
Many Cuban mothers take issue with their kids moving away. I swear, I thought I'd totally be in that category. Until now.
Now, I'm just embracing the moments as they come. So grateful that we live in the age of Skype and FaceTime and texts and emails and Facebook and Instagram. (Also, I'm Smrtqbn on Instagram if you want to follow me.)
I love that they have developed their own relationships with each other. I'm no longer the glue that holds them together. Even though I am the one who insists on the photo shoots, but that's not important right now.
I'm grateful that they're all so much fun to be with and I'm looking forward to reinventing myself.
I still can't get enough of my grandson, Asher. But that's the general consensus around here. That kid is seriously well-loved.
So I'm working on accruing miles on my Southwest credit card and making plans to travel more often this year and thinking big thoughts about what I'd like the next chapter of my life to look like.
And truly, Eric and I are happy in this season. It's taking some getting used to not having all the crazy around all the time. But it's really good. We are delighted for all of their success. And grateful for the quiet days.
As far as my Dinner Table Fantasy goes, I had them all with me right after the photo shoot. We went to our favorite Cuban restaurant (of course) and it was all super noisy and delicious and there was lots of laughter and smiles.
And I thought to myself, "I really am the luckiest."