F Simple and Serene Living: women speak: bye bye birdies 09 10
Monday, June 16, 2014

women speak: bye bye birdies


Week Three


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?

Let's talk.


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18 comments:

  1. It's long behind me. I had my girls at 17 and 21. So I was pretty young when they spread their wings. I was more upset when they started kindergarten I think than when they grew up for some reason.
    Brenda

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    1. I have to admit that I was upset every year when they would go back to school. I loved having them near me :)

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  2. Long behind me but the tears still come if I dwell on it they have happy lives and I know I did a good job helping them believe they can stand on their own two feet in every situation. I guess that was what I was hoping but I see other mothers whose children still live near by and need them daily and I wonder if I would like that. I decided no and I will enjoy every moment I get and every phone call I receive. Great post Laura. Hug B

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    1. Thanks, Buttons. It is interesting how some mothers want a lot of contact and others are happy with occasional visits. I know that I would like to have more time with my daughters and grandchildren. Two or three times a year isn't enough for me.

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  3. that was such a lovely tribute to your babies, I was only 18 and 19 when I was a mam, I grew up with my babies, I was excited to see them fly away, I missed them dreadfully, cried everyday but wanted them all to have a good life, a well lived life, I have no regrets for not going to college , not having a career but I would never want my girls to have the life I had, or my son, independent self supporting healthy happy people that's all I wanted for them, a career, babies too, but I wanted them to live their life first,

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    1. A wise mom you are, Laurie. Independent, healthy, happy people is what we want for our children. It's a reflection of being a good parent :)

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  4. Hi Laura,

    Lovely photos to accompany your subject that is very close to my heart. My only daughter lives an ocean and a continent away from us. Since December 2012, she has been living and working in Canada, where I was born, for better opportunities regarding work. She lives with my sister and her family and I got to spend 2 1/2 months with all of the, as well as with my parents, (everyone is across the pond!), this spring. BUT, it has been HARD, with many, many tears, as I miss her so very much! We are very close and like some others say above, we grew up together. I am very proud of her for being such a kind and caring, hard-working individual and thank God every day for her health and safety, which is the most important thing, isn't it?

    Like you said, we bring them up, nourish them and teach them to be the best they can, and if that means having to do it from a distance, then, so be it. It took a while to get used to, but I do know that I don't want to live so far apart from her for long. Thus, decisions will have to be made re: this long distance love affair with my girl!

    Have a wonderful week and hope that those 'withdrawal' symptoms ease up with each passing day.

    Poppy

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    1. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you, Poppy. You are so very far away. The difficulty has increased for me since I became a grandmother. Now I have those children to miss, too. :)

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  5. No question about it... becoming an empty nester is a major adjustment. I'm starting to get the hang of it though. Have a wonderful day, Laura!

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    1. I am so glad to hear that you are getting the hang of it, Katie. You have a very optimistic attitude. :)

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  6. Admittedly the first one was the hardest and I recall wondering every time if I’d taught them all they needed to know. Turned out I had ((( smile))). I’d gained a vacant room with each one and bought a red convertible when the last one left. With the passing years blessed with e-mail and cell phones we are all just a moment away from each other. Being a mom is never finished emotionally. Being a mom recognizing a grown daughter’s space may be a continuing process of what some call empty nest. It’s all good, Laura.

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    1. I love that you bought a red convertible. You're right, being a mom is never finished emotionally and even though we recognize their adult space, it is our own new space that we have to adjust to. xo

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    2. I don't think I ever felt left. I'm still their mom. I was excited to see the women they would become and they still amaze me every day. My new space was defined by more leisure time and I loved that. My goal of setting an example for them continues. Great comments today, Laura ~ Well done!

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  7. I write about this a lot and it helps me work through being sad and look for the positives. My daughter recently moved to Pittsburgh, so I have one daughter truly out of the nest and the other a college student who still comes in and out. It truly is an adjustment, but does seem to make my husband and I closer. It seems we can see the next stage (retirement) getting closer and it is exciting :-)

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    1. Retirement is good, although I will probably working for the rest of my life. I am glad to hear that it is making you and your husband closer. I'm wondering if being a single mom is more difficult as we don't have the support of that other person. Just a thought.

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  8. I never had a nest. All of my pregnancies ended in miscarriage. I have lived with that heartache my entire adult life. Your nest may be empty right now, but at least you had those babies and all the memories of that life. I envy you.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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    1. I am so sorry for your losses, Susan. I had three miscarriages and know how devastating they can be. Yes, I am grateful for every moment I have had with my daughters. I consider myself to be a very fortunate woman. xoxo

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