My house is too quiet. I am baffled by the silence. When I dreamed about what it would be like when my youngest child went off to kindergarten, I didn’t imagine the silence. But now I think, how could I not have? Anyone who has met my 5-year-old son, Joseph, knows he talks nonstop. However, my dreams were more focused on all the things I would be able to do with ease — shopping, cleaning, errands, exercise. As any parent knows to be able to do any of those things unencumbered is a joy. Do I like this quiet? Not so much but I’m also not yearning for the pitter patter of little feet or my son’s many theories on where polecats poop.
On the first day of school a month ago, I didn’t have time to notice. That morning, my husband and I brought our three kids to school for their first day of fifth grade, third grade and kindergarten. After many pictures, lots of kisses, and a few tears, we walked back to our car.
I was emotional but in control. Then a crossing guard, a lovely woman who meant no harm, said to me, “Now you’re all alone.”
I began sobbing hysterically, much to my husband’s amusement as he helped me into our car. After a few minutes, I pulled myself together and my mother and I went out for breakfast and pedicures.
The kindergartners in Lindenhurst had a half day for the first day and so I only had a few hours of freedom. That was fine by me because after a few hours, I missed my sweet boy’s voice. He had a great first day and was anxious to go back.
My husband took off work the rest of that week and we got to spend time together as Stacey and Ed and not Mom and Dad. It was wonderful. We went out to lunch in Babylon Village and did some shopping, and the next day we went to Overlook Beach. All by ourselves. No overflowing beach buggy required. It was lovely.
Now my husband is back to work, my children are in school all day, and I am in a very quiet house. I haven’t had this experience since before I gave birth to our oldest, Anna, in 2006.
I should be basking in the peace that surrounds me and my newfound freedom. Instead, I’m bored and trying to think of what I want to do now that I have time for myself.
I walked from my bedroom to my bathroom naked this morning thinking, hey, I can do this now. I could be a part-time nudist. But no, that’s not for me. I could be the stereotypical housewife from the 1980s and watch soap operas while I fold laundry, but that’s not my style, either.
I’ve been cleaning and organizing my home while blasting my ”old timey rock music,” as my daughter Eva calls it. While I am happy for the opportunity and enjoy the fruits of my labors, cleaning and organizing don’t exactly float my boat. Even while listening to Eddie Vedder.
So now that my cleaning is done (at least until the kids get home), I can contemplate that big question we all face at one time or another: What am I going to do with my life? Well, at least for the next 20 minutes, until I need to go pick up the kids.
Reader Stacey Longenberger lives in Lindenhurst.