The Care and Feeding of Magical Creatures

My youngest son goes to full-day Kindergarten today.  My oldest begins middle school.  I can remember when my first headed off for pre-school and we packed his blanket in his bag, his slightly-too-large, golden blond head peering over the side at the little square of security that was to go with.  When he walked in he had a tentative look in his eye, but a steady gait and I thought, “Maybe if you have to take your woobie with you, you are too young to go to school.”  I was wrong, of course.  They had a train table and blocks and his first chosen friend, William.

At dinner on Sunday I voiced the thought that had been bouncing around in my head.  “Every day now, from 8 until 3:30 I will be here alone.”  All three boys and Mr. Blandings stared back at me, momentarily speechless.  Being at home alone is not something of which any of us has much experience.  “What will you do?” one asked, and then they started filling my days with wonders only they could imagine.  “You could watch Sponge Bob ALL DAY.”  “And eat Skittles.”  “Or popsicles, I would eat popsicles all day.”  “You won’t be alone, you’ll have Rosie.”
And what we could all sense is that it is a big transition.  Alone, for all of us, has both positive and negative connotations.  What is the point of watching Sponge Bob and eating Skittles all day if there’s no one there to eat the green ones for you?
While cleaning up, Mr. Blandings assured me that if I got lonely he would come home for lunch to keep me company.  I’m not one who has usually equated being alone with loneliness.  I’m afraid that I will be busy, but fruitless, so anxious to do so many things that have been on the back burner for the last twelve years that I will just be in a limbo of false starts.
Mr. Blandings’s routine will not change.  He has always walked in around six to find us at home  practicing, studying, horsing around and on the rare occasion, cooking.  The rest of us, me and the boys start the day with a bit of excitement and trepidation.  All prepared and all wondering, “What comes next?”  
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16 thoughts on “The Care and Feeding of Magical Creatures

  1. As someone who works from home in a quiet house, I would advise against Sponge Bob and popsicles. That could well make for a dangerously addictive routine. Staying in your pajamas slightly longer than usual is allowed, but only on occasion, and the pajamas must be truly chic…no sweat pants/tank top ensembles. Your favorite perfume is always a must. I do advise music, classical is best in my experience. But, no Bartok. Open windows are better than air conditioning, unless it’s really hot, and morning walks are mandatory. One dog is good, two are even better. And, fresh starts are always a good thing.

  2. You’ll know “what comes next” – you’ve been preparing for it during the natural evolution into this next phase…….

    Speaking from experience, the 8am-330pm solo stretch, while it seems like a luxury, is filled with catching up from the previous 330pm-8am! !

    The payoff is that it’s an uninterrupted stretch of time.
    And that’s worth it!!

  3. Oh, Mrs. Blandings, I have a feeling you will revel in that time alone. Just as you say, it will not be lonely. Me thinks it’ll be heavenly. Enjoy!

  4. We are living in parallel universes…my youngest just started Kindergarten, and the house is eerily quiet right now. After a summer full of activity, it is a very strange thing to experience! I will relish my freedom for a few weeks, then I too will need to figure out what is next for me.

  5. I shall never forget that “void” of when my twins hopped on the bus to kindergarten and then suddenly feeling that the 3:15 bus pick-up came all to fast and the paint was still not dry. I quickly filled my days with paintings and many jobs that I look back on, none quite as rewarding as seeing the wings spread and my twins in high-school.
    Oh, Mrs.Blandings, I can see great things a flutter from your home office. Only wish I was right down the lane to brainstorm with you. Blogging is the next best thing.
    Enjoy your “home alone” feeling.

  6. As the song says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Remember, that anything you accomplish during those hours is something that was probably not possible before. So don’t make too many plans and don’t add up what get’s done — or not. Just enjoy being the only one you have to please for those few quiet hours.

  7. Oh what a bittersweet feeling isn’t it? My 13 year old is away in East Hampton with Grandpa for a few days now that sailing camp is over, and I miss her terribly!
    I am sure you will stay busy with all of your projects…

  8. Mrs. Blandings, this is a bittersweet freedom! It will slowly turn in to a much loved span of time you will covet and not want to share with anyone!
    Enjoy the transformation!

  9. I will be in the same situation this fall!
    My oldest going off to middle school and my youngest beginning kindergarten (1/2 day).
    After 11 years at home!
    Looking forward to using the time towards my fine art portraiture!

  10. WOW! I know it must be so tough to watch the littlest one go off to school, but think of all the things you can do during these solo hours. I know you will make excellent use of this time. And I agree totally – being alone does not mean being lonely.

  11. Dear Mrs. B.,
    I highly advise one completely fruitless day a week during which to enjoy the fruits of your other labours. Sometimes, magic happens in the spaces between…

  12. Mrs. Blandings, Remember that the answers are all inside each of us. The key to the answers is ASKING the right questions. I think you took step one of your next step when you started this Blog, whether it is working in an antique or decor store, doing articles for the paper, or even writing a book. If you will go back and read your blog from the first, you already have the makings of a book. If that doesn’t interest you, at least you can see it all “of a piece” and it should tell you to continue following what you love. But for a while, I recommend nursing yourself over this small rite of passage. You’ve just raised the bar of life a little notch. Give yourself time to adjust. I am sure you will do fine.

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