My daughter’s been away, housesitting for the past few weeks and I’m getting a taste of what it’s going to feel like in this very empty nest. It will finally be clean, and very quiet.
It really forces you to take a look at your life, think about what you’ve done, where you’re going and whether you want company for the rest of the ride. It brought a few tears for me because for 25 years I was a mom first. That was my most important job. I always worked, but my kids came first. And it’s all changed lightning fast.
I was on one of my walks with Topper over the weekend and I saw a woman walking toward our local park. It was crowded with kids, so I asked her what was going on. She said, Oh we’re taking pictures for AYSO soccer today. I said, “Oh wow, I remember those days.” She said, “Yeah, now it’s our turn.”
I was slightly insulted not to be considered part of the group anymore, then I thought about my soccer mom days.
I used to get up at 5 a.m. on weekends and do TV traffic reports for the local NBC station, then head to the field with my sliced oranges and marshmallow treats. My son played soccer, but could have cared less; he was more interested in the birds and butterflies around him. I was so worried about him playing goalie, I stood behind him and yelled every time the ball got close.
You know what? That mom can have soccer with my blessings. The early mornings, the snacks, the shin guards, the laundry, the dragging my daughter to the field for practices, the worry. I’m happily handing that over.
But what gets me is I can’t believe that was only 19 years ago. My entire life has been upended at least three or four times since then, but only 19 years ago my son was six!
Kids my son’s age are getting married now and having kids of their own. I see my stepson Brandon and his wife with kids, and my nephews with kids, and I’m blown away. I could freak myself out worrying about getting older, but as long as I feel good, I’m OK with it. (Like I have a choice anyway.)
I can hear that damned Circle of Life song from the Lion King playing in my head and I have a hard time believing I am the age I remember my parents being when I was in college. I have to tell you, it’s very weird when it happens to you and it happens faster than you can believe.
Now what will I do with all this free time?
Well last night, I baked peanut butter cookies and enjoyed the company of my daughter and her friend Dado. I’m right across the street from the school she goes to, so she came back for an evening.
Now I understand why my mother got tearful when we came to visit – she got to be in her element again — full blown Mom. It feels good to step back into that role, even if it’s only for an hour or two.
Here’s the recipe! It’s from The Joy of Cooking Cookbook. These cookies are a classic recipe, nothing too fancy, but enough to entice young people to stick around a while. That works for me.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Preheat oven to 375
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter (I used creamy)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Extra sugar for dipping your fork into
Thoroughly combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set it aside
Combine the softened butter, sugar and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and peanut butter and mix thoroughly. Then slowly add the flour mixture.
Roll the dough in small balls about 1 1/2 inches wide and lay them on a cookie sheet about three inches apart. Take a fork, dip the tines in the sugar you set aside and press down on the balls until they flatten to about a half inch thick. I press in two directions because I like that look. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. When done sprinkle them lightly with sea salt and serve.