I didn’t sleep very well last night. In fact, I found it very difficult to get comfortable. I was on the bed for awhile, on the sofa for a bit, in the closet and finally ended up stretching out on the bathroom floor. I should have known something big was happening when I saw all of the suitcases and boxes piled up by the front door. Usually, I can tell when a family trip is planned or if Dad is going away on business without us. This time, the mountain of stuff was a strange collection of things including an ironing board, pillows, laundry soap and boxes of Pop Tarts. Then we all got in the car for a very long drive.
There was anxiety in the car for sure. My girl was quiet, then she got pretty emotional, then quiet again. I was very unhappy having to stay in one small space in the back seat because there was so much stuff packed in around us. We did stop a few times but my family did not give me a drink until we finally got to Baltimore. Jeez.
Here we found ourselves on yet another college campus. Last year I enjoyed visiting many colleges where the students were simply delighted to see me. They made funny noises and came running to give me a pat. At first I found this alarming, but once I got used to it, I enjoyed being treated like visiting royalty.
This time was no exception and I received a princely welcome. The difference, however, was when we started unloading the car into a small room in a large building that did not smell familiar to me at all. My girl was getting very excited and I watched Mom and Dad carefully for signs of distress. Mom held it together pretty well, and I expect that Dad was keeping his feelings hidden. I didn’t realize that when we got back in the car, leaving my girl behind, that she was staying at the college for a long time and we had now become “empty nesters.”
I remember when my boy left for college a few years ago. I was not invited to join that trip and it took me weeks to understand what had happened. He was not coming back anytime soon. I had to make a few adjustments, but generally this change was not too difficult for me. I started to sleep in my girl’s bed instead of his and found myself adapting to her schedule and actually enjoyed going to bed early. Now I do not know where to sleep since she is not in her bed and Mom and Dad refuse to let me onto their bed. Dad says I snore too loudly. Hah, look who’s talking.
I know that my girl will come back eventually. The boy has been here many times, going away again to school, work and whatever they do in Arizona. These homecomings are usually wonderful with everyone hugging and crying with happiness. I am extremely happy too because there are usually lots of great snacks around for the kids and their friends. Often, they leave all kinds of pizza crusts and cake crumbs on the low table where they watch TV. I love it.
I do not like being an empty nester. The house is very quiet. I’m pretty bored during the day because it is just Mom and me hanging out. She doesn’t do anything interesting really. She just spends a lot of time in the kitchen and on the computer. When my girl was home we enjoyed watching Chopped and Cupcake Wars on the Food Network and snuggling on the sofa. Of course when Dad came home from work every day, we pretended that I had been sleeping on the floor the whole time, but I wasn’t.
There are very few crumbs on the floor in the kitchen these days, and when I do find some, they are not the yummy kind of things my girl dropped for me. Now we are eating healthy which means far less crumby food and more crunchy, green stuff. Yuck. I think I may be depressed since I just don’t feel like gnawing on my rawhide or prowling the yard on the lookout for squirrels and cats. Don’t be alarmed: I don’t chase them, I simply observe them. The deer drive Mom to distraction with their constant munching of her flowers. I think they are scary because they are so big. She is not afraid of them and runs around yelling and waving her arms trying to get them to go away. They are not scared of her either.
Instinctively, I know that Mom and Dad will remain at this house with me. I suppose I will get used to the slow pace of our days here. I know I will have to be creative to find interesting tidbits to supplement the usually dull food offerings I get each day. I may have to go back to sneaking gum out of Mom’s purse. This is not the same as an Oreo or potato chip, but I think this is just one of the many adjustments I will be forced to make. My biggest problem however remains: where should I sleep?