Chronicles From The Empty Nest
Repost from August, 2012
The countdown has begun...in exactly 3 days, I will officially become an "empty nester." God how I hated those words in the past; associating them with old age, loneliness, boredom and uselessness. And here I am, about to embark on this journey--kicking and screaming the whole way and grabbing on to anything I can find that is stationery to keep me in the place where I am comfortable and safe.
At the risk of sounding cliche, I have been a mother for 21 years. Overnight, that role will change when I move from "participant" to "observer" in my children's lives. Yes, I know what you're thinking . . . I realize I am not the first person to go through this. But I feel like the first person. Just as I had no idea what to do with that first little baby I brought home from the hospital 21 years ago, I have absolutely no clue about how to function in this new role being imposed on me. Funny how I've come full circle. I remember looking at my babies and thinking, "oh my gosh, I don't have freedom anymore!" And now those words are haunting me--I have my freedom. But I don't want it yet--I still want to be needed. Don't I have to get up tomorrow and pack a lunch or have a conference with a teacher? Do the kids' need a ride to practice and did I schedule those dentist appointments? But what about my son's haircuts? How is he going to manage that laundry and will my daughter be able to juggle her bills and her love life?
HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE! When did I become REDUNDANT?
Okay, okay I hear what everyone keeps telling me. They say, "you are going to love your empty nest, and now you can travel and paint and do everything you've always wanted to do." I admit it all sounds intriguing, and yet so foreign to me. All those things I thought I always wanted to do have shifted to a distant compartment in my brain and what I really want to be doing is to still sit around my family dinner table and share the highs and lows of everyone's days. I want to hug them each morning as they head off for school and to kiss them each night when they shuffle off to bed. The thought of losing all of that to a dutiful weekly phone call and occasional visit sounds like a locked cage instead of a cozy nest.
But hey, being a "glass half full" kind of girl, I've had my five minute pity party and now it's time to move on and try my best to embrace this new lifestyle. And I'll just hope that all the other stuff people tell me about empty nesting is true; that my kids will spread those wings but always come home and how I'm going to be busier than I ever have been. Well, that's to be determined but I don't see that I have any other choice.
On Monday as my poor baby bird is trying to leap from the nest while I clutch him as tightly as I can - I will eventually release him, shed a tear (mostly for myself) and then slap on those ruby read slippers and head off to see the Wizard on my journey to distant and unknown territory. So if you see "Surrender Dorothy" written in the sky somewhere, you'll know I've gotten myself into trouble. Either that, or I'm on a beach somewhere hanging out with the flying monkeys.
Stay tuned . . .