When I was just twenty-four, I spent some time living alone with my two young children ages 5 and 2. That time seems like a lifetime ago, so much so that I had recently wondered if I had ever lived without a man in my life telling me what to do and where to be or just being there as an integral part of my life. But when I searched my memory bank, there it was, that period of time when I had just returned to Indiana and went to live on my grandparents’ farm, which was now owned by my parents.
Grandma passed away shortly after I returned home leaving her house available to us. It was almost as if she had made the decision to go in order to provide a place for my children and myself to live.
Grandma’s house cannot be mentioned without always and again giving it the honor that it deserves. It was a place of nurturing and unconditional love for my siblings and myself. Grandma dropped everything for us, and we had many wonderful visits there.
Moving into her house felt strange and almost sacrilegious to be taking over her home, but it also felt like an honor.
While living at Grandma’s with my little ones, I found a new sense of self. I had never been “on my own” and the sense of freedom was strange. Although I enjoyed it, I also feared this freedom.
I remember spending my days just wondering what to do with myself. There was a sense of desire and a need to “do something,” yet I didn’t know what to do with that energy roiling up inside. So I used that energy to direct to two things – Reese cups and men. Yes, every time I felt that desire or longing, it seemed I either ate a Reese cup or looked for a man. That is a slight exaggeration, I am sure, because I have many fond memories of sitting on the front porch swing telling stories to my kids and singing songs.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that I had all this creativity inside, but in my youth and with lack of direction, I did not recognize it or know what to do with it.
I think of my daughter and my son who now live on their own. I wonder if they ever feel that need to “do something.” I am sure they do. And I am sure that like most of America, many times when they feel that restlessness, they head to the malls or the bars – or like me, to the Reese cups or looking for someone to occupy their time and use that energy.
It’s nice to be forty-six and finally know what to do with my time and creative energy. But mainly, it is nice to recognize just what I am craving and to realize it isn’t about anyone or anything outside of me. It is just that creative energy seeking an outlet.