This morning I wake up in a quiet house, facing the prospect of a weekend on my own, no plans other than to move through a list of tasks I’ve been putting off or avoiding or need to do, and Quaker Meeting on Sunday with a friend.

My daughter is off to Hawaii for the Thanksgiving break, staying with her dad overnight, where her summer clothes have been stored, so she can pack her things between school today and airport in the morning.

My sons are living their lives. The older one is in New York, where he will have brunch with my sister and nephew as part of their birthday gifts to one another, a weekend in a hotel and a chance to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. Late Wednesday evening my New York son will arrive at Alewife station on the GoBus. I’ll meet him after making pies and applesauce and squash and stuffing with my mom and Somerville son that day, a day off work to prepare for the holiday I’ll be hosting this year, preparations on my mind when I wake the last three mornings at 5 to ponder life and the folks and things that make it.

My Somerville son is working today at the restaurant, after having worked two days in the day care with me this week, and having lunch with me yesterday, restoring our tradition after a few weeks’ break. Tonight he’ll welcome his partner back from her business trip. Tomorrow they’ll welcome her family from Florida, who will be here for the week, celebrating Thanksgiving with us for the first time as we all anticipate our families joining with the marriage of our children in the summer.

The house is as quiet as can be, except for the sounds of the electric kettle making water for my tea, footsteps down below, my tenant or co-worker getting ready for the day, and the tapping of my fingers on the keys.

Outside my window the maple leaves have turned November gray, hanging on and colorless. Cars in the distance are headed to work or school or errands with their passengers inside, though my street is quiet.

I’ve been living mostly alone this year, have chosen not to take in another tenant just yet, though this morning I was wondering if I should. Last fall began with a full house, a family of three, my son and me, sometimes my son’s partner, some weekends my daughter, some nights my former boyfriend, some weekends his daughter.

Gradually, sometimes suddenly, the house has emptied out. The family moved into their new home last October. My son moved in with his partner last Halloween unofficially, then into their new and shared apartment last February. My former boyfriend and I gradually put the house together over the course of our time together. As I cleaned out the boys’ rooms and he painted them, I spent time in them meditating, doing yoga, and writing, burning candles in their honor and in homage to my life ahead.

This morning, I’m typing on my living room couch rather than writing on paper at a desk in their old rooms. It feels important to have an audience, not to tuck my words in a drawer upside down, to say what I am feeling in a more public way.

Many women I know are living similar lives. My sister is newly divorced, moved into a new and smaller home, without her children half time for the first time in their lives, learning to live alone.

My former day care partner and good friend is living in her own apartment, having moved this fall out of the home where she and her husband raised their children, making her way alone.

The mother of my daughter’s closest childhood friend, and a former close friend of mine, has moved out of the home where they raised their children, and traveled across the country alone to work for the Indian Health Service as a midwife in North Dakota.

Another friend posted on facebook today from Mexico, showing pictures of the first place she has chosen to live alone, two tiny rooms sparsely furnished. She hopes for visitors, and for one who might stay. She is 48 and wrote of leaving a marriage, of children leaving home, of sharing a home with others here in Boston, of being deported back to Mexico, of taking shelter with friends, on her way to making a home of her own.

Virginia Woolf talks of making a room of one’s own. The study that used to be my son’s room, that used to be my husband’s office, that was my son’s room even before that, that was originally intended to be my study, does not feel like a room of my own. I don’t know how to live that way.

I live in my kitchen, at my dining room table, in the living room. I have never known how to set up a study or an office or a room of my own. Even my bedroom feels less than homey, more a place to sleep and store my clothes and books.

As a young person, I chose to share living space. I never lived alone until I was divorced and my children spent half time with their father, then grew up. Their leaving came in so many unexpected ways it was hard to prepare, though I wonder if any of us mothers ever can prepare for our children’s leaving.

My partners since my marriage ended have come and gone. I’ve visited their places and they’ve visited mine. Like my friend in Mexico I’ve hoped that one would stay. I’ve contemplated leaving, moving elsewhere, to be with Richard in Northampton, to go to graduate school at Smith, though at the moment, I don’t find myself packing up or clearing out as much as settling in, contemplating, if not feathering the nest.

Last night I ordered a tiny electric fireplace. I don’t know where I’ll put it, but it’s mobile so I don’t have to know. My new guy has one in his room and his family has one in their cabin in the woods. Sitting beside them is homey, homier than sitting by my candles, my ongoing connection to fire.

Last weekend I was alone a long stretch in a cabin in Maine while my daughter was with friends. There was a small wood stove there and I lay beside it reading and even slept there in the living room, feeding the fire, remembering the retreats in Michigan as I was learning to live alone and the comfort I found in building and in keeping company with the fire, in candles which I burned as I meditated and wrote and drank tea, and in the fireplaces, which I lit at night to help me relax and sleep, alone for the first time that first July in a way that was profound, away from my children, for a week, contemplating their moving out with my husband at the end of summer, knowing the loss before it came.

So, perhaps the fire will add warmth to my winter. As quiet as the house can feel, I’m not ready to invite a tenant to share it yet. Maybe next year when my daughter leaves for college and isn’t home much at all, I’ll do that, maybe not. This is a learning year, a learning time for many of us women at midlife, as we say good-bye to our years of raising children, of caring for others, as many of us transition out of life partnerships and marriages and learn to live alone, sometimes to re-partner.

Though my observations are that more men find their way into new long term partnerships and cohabitation than women post divorce, I haven’t given up hope. I haven’t resigned myself to another ten years of living alone and sharing space only sometimes with a partner, though I know, from watching my mother, my aunts, and many friends, that I may live the rest of my life alone, that whether I make peace with that is up to me.

Books and writing and quiet are my solace. I am not a watcher of tv. I don’t have a close group of women friends at the moment who gather and chat. I don’t have a close friend who is here regularly or who invites me regularly to her home. I have friends and a sister and a mother who text and talk and sometimes get together. I have a daughter and two sons who love me and who I love. I have a new partner I’m getting to know, who is here sometimes, who invites me to his home, and who loves his time alone.

Life unfolds. At the moment, it’s time for little loves, the tiny wonders who show up at my door each day of the work week and remind me, in fact I am not alone. They are here, needing care and love and attention, calling me into the moment we can call our own. We are lucky to spend our days together one little neighbor girl and I remind each other every so often. We are. Whatever has happened in my home over the last 28 years, the day care has been here for twenty four of them, holding a place in my heart and keeping me going through thick and thin. Lucky life, lucky life, lucky, lucky life.