Reveling in Irrelevance

I have become a person on the outskirts of their lives…we still live about 300 feet apart and I still see their house every time I go down the shared driveway to my own house, but I don’t see them, any of them, much at all these last months. The person who walked them to the bus stop every morning for over a decade now just sees the taillights of the Jeep going out to the street as two teenage sisters drive off to school together…

Text messages that used to say, Nana go look at the moon, or Nana how was your day, or Nana have sweet dreams, have long since ceased. They no longer need me in any measurable way, unless it’s to place an Amazon order or Venmo some money…Their mother who used to wander over to chat, or have a glass of wine or talk about the day or the weather, or them, no longer finds herself wanting to be much in my orbit anymore either…she has a very stressful job and is now dating a nice man who makes her laugh, after the last two soul-crushing years as her marriage imploded and then ended, so she is still healing and finding her own way and has her own schedule, and time-line, and I am not much in it…

That NOT being needed so much has its perks, don’t get me wrong…I hardly ever miss a yoga or fitness class anymore, ever, and if I want to go somewhere or do something, I don’t really have to check in with anybody as to whether or not I am needed elsewhere at that time… I have real freedom that many women my age don’t have. I don’t have to have a calendar tacked on my pantry with three different schedules of who-what-where. It’s not that I am sad, I expected this time would come, where the lives of these three females no longer revolves around me as their center…I was the one who got called or texted about any and all calamities over the last 14 years…falls down stairs, cuts from kitchen slips, arguments, mice, bugs, birds…Nana please come fast, Mom there is a mouse in my kitchen, Mom there is a bird in Shay’s room, Nana Shay fell on a shampoo bottle and is bleeding, Mom-Nana-Mom-Nana…and ran over I did. For almost 14 years now when they said “jump” I jumped. That was my other job.

I am only 55 years old and I have essentially completed the raising of two generations. It’s no small task, to raise a child without a husband or a partner or a second income or any of the benefits a woman gets from having a spouse, and it’s no small task to then help that adult raise her own children…but the eldest is about to go on her senior trip, and then will have her senior prom, and then will graduate from high school, and then will turn 18…in the next 11 weeks all of this will happen, and that chapter will be officially over. The child who turned my entire world upside down and opened my heart in the most inexplicable ways, will be an adult…she will vote, she will make her own decisions about her own life and future…she will not need me at all, and so I will revel in the fact that the little blonde wonder, who I might add is now the tallest of all of us, will need a ride to school for all of next year…for another year I will be needed, and for another whole year I will get to say, “do good work and be kind” as she gets out of my truck, just like I said, every single day of her life as she got on the bus…the clock is ticking in every way and I will savor what I can, when I can, in any way that I can continue to be IN some sort of relevant way, part of their world…

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