Carol Shwanda chronicles her blended family's lives and experiences offering hope, guidance, wisdom, inspiration and humor to anyone who is in or about to enter into a blended family.
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Table for Three
Last night I made meat loaf and mashed potatoes for three people– Paul, Eva and myself. It felt very odd. Now that the three oldest kids are out of the house (Sam is in the Navy, Sophia is in the second year of college in Portland and Mark has move to San Francisco “to spread his wings”) and Cheryl was at her mom’s, our dinner table seemed kinda empty with just the three of us.
It’s been an adjustment for me to scale back on the meal preparations, just as much as it was for me to keep the pantry stocked when I married a man with three children. I’ll never forget when Paul and I were dating and I had all five kids at my house after school one day and they were hungry. I put out a loaf of bread, some peanut butter and jelly for them to make sandwiches and when I turned my back it was gone. Poof. (Note to self: never underestimate the amount of food teenage boys can eat.) I quickly learned to buy in bulk. I always chuckle to myself whenever the butcher at the grocery store questions my meat order (2 lbs. of bacon, 2 dozen sausages, 2 lbs. of cold cuts, 8 chicken cutlets…)
“Having a party?”
“Nope. Just Sunday dinner,” I explained.
We have two full-sized refrigerators in our kitchen.
The meal preparation and the food thing is really only a symptom of a much bigger issue which is, “What am I supposed to do with myself now?” It seems like over night I have stepped off the “power mom” treadmill of a fast paced world of managed chaos into a befuddled fog that often leaves me wandering my house contemplating, “Do I need to do something?” Empty the dishwasher? Laundry? Check homework? Drive to soccer practice? Cook dinner? It’s hard for me to believe that at one point I was working full-time, getting my master’s degree and raising five teenagers. I have no idea how I survived.
If you are thinking that I am at a loss as to how to re-purpose and redirect my energies you are mistaken. I knew this day was coming, so I have prepared myself. In anticipation of the empty nest, I have decided to return to my career in the financial services industry. In addition, I plan to join the local chapter of the Rotary, a service club deeply entrenched in our local community. It will be a great outlet for me to further promote my personal cause and commitment to ocean conservation. These new endeavors I am sure will keep me very busy and intellectually challenged and satisfied.
Although I am sad that my children are leaving the fold, I am embracing a whole new era of independence. My own.