Saturday, August 23, 2014
OF EMPTY NESTS
I know, I know - I owe you Rome. I promised. But this is a little more urgent, at least for me. Today my husband and I dropped our daughter off at her dorm room in Manhattan. Tonight, for the first time, there are no children living in our house. Nathan is 25, and off on his own. And now, improbable as it seems, Amy has somewhere else to live too. Yes, it's just a dorm room, but the fact is that for the first time in 25 years, I don't have at least one of my kids living under my roof. And what's maybe even stranger is that my husband and I have never lived alone together before tonight. Nathan was 3 when we met and 5 when we married. Now, after 20 years, it's just us.
For at least an hour I've been sitting at the kitchen table, empty-handed, for once not engaged in any activity except trying to figure out what I'm feeling. And then the metaphor hit me.
I did the Saturday NY Times crossword puzzle late this afternoon, after we got back home. It had kind of a weird twist to it. All of the clues made sense when you read them, but didn't seem to yield any answers that could be filled in on the grid. Gradually I realized that none of the answers could be deduced unless each clue was modified - at least one letter N had to be added to it somewhere in order for it to lead to an answer.
And that's what I'm feeling right now. All of my component parts (wife, lawyer, writer, etc.) more or less make sense on their own, but I can't integrate them at the moment. I can't fill in the grid. Tonight, every part of me is missing a letter.