Today I want to talk about the thing that most mothers dread. You probably already know what I am talking about.
The eggs have hatched, the babies have grown, and they have flown the nest. Of course, this is what we have raised them to do. We want them to soar. We want them to take flight. We want them to be the wonderful people we knew all along they could be.
It's just that no matter how prepared we think we are we may not actually like the reality of the empty nest. At least not when it first happens, and maybe we don't ever really like it at all.
Children growing up and leaving home signifies many things, not the least of which is that we are growing older and with that growing older comes the reality that things will never be quite the same.
My own story started with dropping my oldest daughter off at college. She was my first born, my sweet angel, and suddenly she was 18 and gone. I cried the whole way home. I already missed her and even though she came back for brief visits, she was the daughter who never really came home again. But, I still had one daughter at home so I wasn't really alone. My youngest daughter, my baby, was with me, for the most part, through her senior year in college. So it was almost another nine years before she left, but she did leave. Right after graduation she packed up and moved to New York to be with daughter number one. For so many years there had been three of us, then two, and then finally I was one.
I was left alone. I had a real empty nest. I was living in a town far away from any family. I had no support system. I never knew just how lonely a person could be.
I'm not sure if the empty nest syndrome is worse for a single mom, but I know it can be pretty terrible. I think the difficulty is we have possibly forgotten the people we used to be before we had our babies. I could barely remember the person I had been 27 years before, and I was no longer that person anyway.
I tried to carve a new independent life, and I guess I eventually did, but I still miss them every day. I miss our talks. I miss their messes. I miss their daily smiles and frowns. I miss being a part of their daily lives, and as I am writing this post I still feel the sadness. The tears still have a way of spilling over.
So I could give you my professional counselor spiel about the empty nest, but today I want to just talk with you mother to mother. Are you still preparing for an empty nest? Are you in the process of your children leaving home? Or are you like me with the leaving behind you?