Returning home from a two week vacation with your 16 y/o son on the same day your 22 y/o son temporarily moves back home for a couple of months, is not something I recommend. Especially when your older son’s style of packing doesn’t involve boxes or any real sense of organization.

While my trip was stellar, I returned to Albany single again after the oddest break up I’ve ever known. I can’t begin to explain it, because I don’t really understand quite what happened, but suffice it to say I’m suffering from emotional whiplash at the moment. Ugh.

When I walked into my house late the other night, after a full day of travel involving trams, trains and planes, and saw the chaos created by piles of his stuff (bedding, dishes, pots and pans, clothing), I almost lost it. When I left for vacation my house was clean in anticipation of my house sitter’s presence. I anticipated a degree of mess from the ongoing kitchen project, but I certainly didn’t imagine heaps of my child’s personal belonging scattered throughout four rooms of my house. Double ugh.

There are times when I get overwhelmed, most often by situations in which there is too much. Too much mess, food, heat, emotion, noise…you name it. Any and all of the above can knock me off balance and leave me wanting to do nothing more than run, figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, bolting was simply not an option.

My first day back home was devoted to getting some of my kitchen things unboxed and stashed away in newly hung cabinets. I was a child who moved frequently (10 times by the 7th grade) and I’ve always loved to unpack. Being able to start from scratch and put things in their places calms me in a weird way. Everything feels somehow new and I get a sense of the possibilities of a fresh start. It’s oddly inspiring to me – and, of course, familiar and reminiscent of my childhood.

Working to make my physical space more orderly was an ideal distraction from the hurt I was feeling and I relished the opportunity to mentally escape. I’m not going to lie – dating sucks. I can’t wrap my head around “you’re perfect, I love you, goodbye,” and I struggle with completely pulling back from potentially romantic relationships. It’s honestly difficult to imagine exposing my bruised heart again, at least not any time soon.

I don’t believe that being single is the worst thing that could happen to a person, myself included, but it is frustrating and lonely at times. This most recent relationship rang a bell which I hadn’t heard for awhile and I liked the way it sounded. But, as I washed dishes in my new kitchen sink and admired the copper counters I had refused to be dissuaded from installing, I was reminded of all the wonderful, positive things I am so fortunate to have in my life. I just have to believe that, like the disarray of my home, this funk will eventually pass.

Until it does, I’ll try to appreciate the (young) men who are in my life, my sons. Because, unlike that last guy, I know that they’ll only be with me for a brief time. May as well enjoy it.

2 thoughts on “Unpacking

    1. I don’t know if courageous is the word that I would use, but I appreciate that! Elissa. I’m just keeping it real knowing that I’m not alone in trying to figure middle aged dating, romance and love. Maybe the things I write about may provide others in a similar situation a little solace or support. Silvia

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