Life Deconstructed: The good, the bad, the ugly and a dirty sleeping bag

Life Deconstructed - Maria Jiunta Heck

As you read this column, you’ll finally come to the conclusion that I’m a colossal hypocrite.

Here’s why: I really like my kids.

Oh, not all the time; as they get older and dive into more precarious adult situations, sometimes I can’t stand the sight of them. But I decided I usually do, indeed, enjoy them.

This last weekend, my husband participated in a three-day golf tournament. (The only other thing I have seen him do for three consecutive days is sleep). My older son went camping and my younger son alighted upon Ocean City for “Senior Week.” That’s another column altogether and I promised him I wouldn’t tattle.

But, stay tuned.

I woke up Saturday, did chores, read a book, did more chores, looked around, did more chores and then … nothing.

Just days prior, I’d been whining because I was cleaning pee from the toilet seat that was most decidedly not mine. I was yelling at the boys, because, let’s be honest, they’re pigs. I was upset with my daughter about some nuance of wedding planning over which she would not allow my opinion to be loudly voiced and was upset with my husband because he was my husband and had moved into the pro shop at Fox Hill.

And then, like a slap upside the head, I was alone. Not even the voices in my head could keep me company. God help me, but I felt a little lonely, a little deflated. There was nothing left to do but shop. Thank God for TJ Maxx. And I really mean that with all my heart.

When our children are born, life’s a tsunami. We pray for an uninterrupted hour to read a magazine or bleach our mustaches. We rarely have time to enjoy our own company, and when a small break comes along, we fall asleep.

The time I wished for is here and I’m telling you — it ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You can’t imagine this when your kids are tiny and noisy and smelly, but you’ll miss it. Being a mother to three adult children is sad and here’s why: they leave.

The melancholy is something I wasn’t anticipating, even though Dr. Phil warned me.

Apparently, in order to produce successful and functional adult children, we’re supposed to raise them to sprout wings and fly away. Well, I don’t like that idea anymore. I don’t want them living here forever, crapping up my bathroom and kitchen, but I guess I didn’t prepare myself for the vastness of it all; for the hours of dead air, for the quiet that envelopes me and at times, almost suffocates me.

The two new pillows and three pairs of jeans I bought at TJ Maxx helped for a few minutes, but I needed more comfort. And just as I was debating whether to assuage my dramatic gloominess with a bucket of peanut butter ripple, I heard a car door slam. My oldest son had come home early, dragging a filthy sleeping bag behind him.

I’m embarrassed to admit this — but my cloak of crankiness instantaneously lifted.

I threw open the door and yelled: “Welcome home, Buddy!” (He was gone for about 10 hours).

I hate to think I’ve become one of those mothers who uses her children as a barometer for her moods. But, I must admit, my kids make me (mostly) (usually) happy. Having children changes everything. The good, the bad, the ugly and …

Hold up! I just opened that sleeping bag. Either a small animal died in there or an accident of enormous proportions took place within, but the color of it is not found in a Crayola box and I’m preparing to regurgitate!

I take back everything I just said!

Except for how much I love TJ Maxx.

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

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