to confuse or disconcert;

The children are gone and I find I cannot settle. Cannot settle so keep moving and flailing. Discombobulated. Disorientated. Dislocated. There was so much movement when they were here: movement and noise and flapjacks for tea. Now there’s just me.
For ten glorious days all three were home. My son turned 20. I don’t feel old enough to have a son that age. Until I regard my reflection in the mirror; she looks old enough to have a son of 20 I think. And scowl. So that she looks even older.

I’m ok though. I’ve done this for a year now: been treading water without 24/7-motherhood as a float. I can keep busy I tell myself. And I do. But not in the directed and driven way I’d like to. Not until I settle. For now I skim the surface and write lists and wander mostly aimlessly between my desk and my workbench. Scratch a few words. Cut a bit of glass. Glower at the filing. Wonder what to cook for lunch, for my girls are not here to appropriate my kitchen, take it over with glorious messy abandon so that the place looks like a bomb has hit it for the ash scattering of icing sugar and flour on table tops and sugar shrapnel on the floor. But oh what delicious smells emanate.

We drove to a beach, as wide and a white as a whale’s skeleton. Two days it took. When the iPods ran flat the conversation took over and we ate yesterday’s egg sandwiches for lunch. My daughter caught a fish – 20 Kgs with teeth like razors – which, she said, for I was not on the boat, cured her sea-sickness, ‘for a bit’, she said.

And Hat played her sax and my son asked ‘how many weeks until Christmas?’

Sixteen I said. Only sixteen.

18 Responses to “Discombobulated”

  1. Cheryl Says:

    Discombobulated is the appropriate word for our situation as well as yours. Dislodged, disoriented, disfigured (landscape), just about any dis- word will apply. We live in the area of Texas where 35,000 acres have burned. Our house is still standing but probably has a lot of smoke damage. This started last Sunday and is now 50% contained. High winds, prolonged drought conditions, 6% humidity and large forests of old growth pine trees for fuel made the perfect storm. Almost 1400 homes destroyed & 2 state parks destroyed. Everyone is coming together & supporting one another.

    I’m so glad you had fun fun fun with your dear ones!!!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Cheryl, how awful. my thoughts are with you and your community. i am glad you are ok: yes, your landscape must terribly disfigures.

  2. Alcoholic Daze (Addy) Says:

    I’ll be in the same boat in a week’s time. I’m dreading it, particularly the train ride alone back to London from the North, after I have dropped her off. Commiserations. 🙂

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Oh Addy yes: the train journey home to London. that will be hard. our middle for diddle is starting Uni then too … how they grow up!

  3. R. Sherman Says:

    My son turned 20. I don’t feel old enough to have a son that age.

    Um, ditto with my daughter this year. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to the time not six years hence when the youngest will leave and we’ll confront the discombobulation of age and wondering if we’ve done enough to prepare them for life. Thankfully, I’ll have these posts to guide me through it.

    Cheers, dear.

  4. Elaine Says:

    Nice to have you back – I’ve missed reading your posts and looking at your lovely photos.
    I know what you mean about not feeling old enough to have a child who is 20. Sadly, my mirror says I am that old!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Thanks Elaine: my mirror too … and when i put my glasses on to tweeze my eyebrows … oh lordy, lordy, lordy!

  5. nuttycow Says:

    Gosh – they’ve all grown up so much. Even Hat looks so much taller!

    Much love to you and the family 🙂

  6. MsCaroline Says:

    I do understand…it’s hard to do a job for 18, 20 years and then suddenly have the job taken away….my son will leave Seoul in January to go back to the US for University….dreading it.
    Selfishly glad you had time to post, though…so enjoy your stark-yet-elegant prose style and your incredible photographs!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Thank you MsCaroline. You’re spot on: do the job for long enough and you feel adrift when there isn’t anybody to fuss over/focus on/feed! and thank you for kind words – my environment lends itself to the camera well though.

  7. janelle Says:

    sherbet….something i will have to cope with in the not too distant future….right now, throw me a rope please!!! hectic here! lots love A and would love to see you… xxx janelle

  8. Doglover Says:

    Take heart, you’re in the first flush of life, young discombobulated Reluctant! I’m in my 80th year and half my face is black and blue after the removal of some teeth by a slapdash dentist! And I’m enjoying the surprised expressions of everyone I meet!

    Life’s a laugh, isn’t it! Nice photos of your family.

  9. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    throwing you a rope Janelle … xxx

    Haha Doglover; you made me laugh! poor you. Horrid slapdash dentist! imagine the thoughts running thru people’s heads: has he had an accident? fallen out of bed? been in a fight?! hope you heal quickly.

  10. reddirtlattes Says:

    I often daydream of the time my life will be mine again, to do with as I please. But now I wonder if I, too, will wander and wait for settling to begin. Perhaps I should start practicing now, in the midst of the chaos.
    “We drove to a beach, as wide and as white as a whale’s skeleton.”

  11. Family Affairs Says:

    Aaah. I so know that dis.com.bob.u.late. feeling – still not so many weeks till xmas now and how is all your busy work going ??? Lxx

  12. karin cocker Says:

    Hi, as a farmers wife, I love reading your stories and I can emphasize with you. We’ve been in the zambian bush ( but had 6 lovely families around) now we are back in harare for a while.. Our boys are grown, married, also farming.+ Our daughter is a chef in london and we lucky if we see her once a year! Keep writing and making sparklie glass! Well done! Ok so where WOULD you like to live if given the chance?? Bye k

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