There’s a term used to describe parents whose kids have left home: Empty Nester. It is such a big deal for so many, there are Facebook and support groups to help parents transition to an empty nest.
But in the early 2000’s Facebook wasn’t around. And I still had my youngest son home, so I thought everything was fine. I was busy with my real estate business and he was busy with school.
I don’t think I recognized the affect the process of having my sons leave home was slowly having on me. They say once your kids hit high school, it will feel like a moment has passed before they have graduated and are off on their own.
I have to agree with that.
It was 2004 when my son was in eleventh grade, preparing for entry into the Naval Academy when things started unraveling for me.
One day I was showing a house to a couple when something happened that scared me. I was standing in the kitchen when I felt it. Knowing what was happening, I asked my buyers to please show themselves out.
I slowly backed into the nearby bathroom, trying not to leave a trail of blood behind. The house had been vacant, but thankfully still stocked with paper towels. I was a mess.
Cleaning myself up the best I could I managed to get out of the house and head for home. By the time I got there, I was sitting in a pool of blood. I had always been one of those lucky women who had very mild, regular periods, so this was something that worried me…a lot.
By the time I got to my doctor, my blood pressure was so low she asked how I got there. When I told her I drove myself, she said she didn’t know how I was even sitting upright.
After much prodding, and many tests, it was determined I had to have a hysterectomy. I was in such denial about it; I went to two more doctors only to hear the same diagnosis.
But I still couldn’t believe it.
My best friend held me as I cried and cried over it. And then she took me to the coast so we could celebrate. She said we would say farewell to my uterus and thank it for being part of me for 45 years, and then we would let it go.
And I would never, ever be able to have another child.
Even now, writing that line makes me tear up. It’s not like I was planning on having more children; it’s just that I didn’t want the choice taken away from me. Not yet.
I scheduled the surgery and put my big girl panties on and got the deed done. I hated every moment of it. When I woke up in the hospital, my family was there to hold my hand and comfort me.
My son brought me his old teddy bear to hold onto, while I waited to recover enough to go home. It was the one I bought him when he was a little boy, and I was so touched by his gesture of concern for me.
Once home, I couldn’t drive for six weeks, so my girlfriend came over and took me to the bookstore. The reason we went to the bookstore was so I could look at pictures of dogs.
I wanted a puppy.
My black lab, Mackey was 14 years old and having seizures, and his doctor said it wouldn’t be long before we lost him. I had a burning desire to get another puppy, and for some reason I set my sights on a Chihuahua.
Yes, you read that right.
Looking back I can understand why. She would be a perpetual baby for me, for many years to come.
By the end of that year, I not only lost my ‘womanhood’ but Mackey too. And my youngest son was just months away from leaving as well. If you think getting a four pound Chihuahua was a bit drastic….wait until you find out what I did next.
…to be continued.