When my kids were younger, I’d see people talk about their sadness about being empty nesters, and I could not imagine ever feeling that way. Not that I thought I’d be happy to not have my kids around, but just that I wasn’t going to boo-hoo as my kids grew up and spread their wings! No sirree. I don’t know if it was because I was overwhelmed with all of my kiddos at the time, or if it was because I’ve always tended to transition into each stage of motherhood without angst. But I was pretty sure that the natural order of things was not going to get me down.
Well, I understand it more now. For me, it’s that my kids are an absolute delight to me. They are my dearest friends, too. And now we are facing having some of them move away, and it feels really, really sad.
My oldest son is going into the Air Force, so he and his wife and my little granddaughter will be moving away. I’ve been so blessed to have them nearby and to see my little granddaughter regularly. I feel so thankful that my daughter-in-love is an absolute sweetheart that is a total joy to have in our family. I’m so thankful for the time we’ve had. And it is really going to stink to have them move away. I feel it acutely that a really special, charmed portion of our life is now coming to an end.
Then, to make matters worse, my third child is about to graduate from high school this week, and has now gotten an offer to go on a great adventure far from home to pursue his dream. I think he’s going to take it–and he should, if he wants to!! But, knowing he’s suddenly leaving home feels terrible. He’s one of my favorite people. He’s my good buddy. We share a lot of interests and enjoy talking to each other every day. Gosh, I will miss him terribly.
Things are moving too fast!
Every time a child leaves the nest, the dynamics change. It’s a loss, but also an opportunity to grow and nurture other relationships, to see how each family member changes and develops within the family structure. It’s good, and hard, and sad, and exciting to see the big kids tackle life in the broader world. It’s right and normal. But it’s a huge loss, too.
I know that most of you are not in this stage of life, but it’s coming for you, sooner or later.
I am so glad for the huge amount of TIME that homeschooling has given me with my kids. I am glad that I’ve been mindful of getting INTO mothering, instead of trying to GET OUT of it. There isn’t a single investment of time, energy, patience, encouragement, or effort that I regret having spent on my kids. It’s 100% worth it, and it feels great, even when a chapter is ending, to know I gave myself to this fully.
My friend, if there is one wish I have for you, it’s that you would be mindful of the gift each day and each challenge presents. Don’t wish away an age or stage–appreciate the beauty that’s going on right now. In the words of James Taylor: “Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel…”
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. Keep loving your tribe fiercely, tenderly, and enthusiastically. This is worth the very best you have to offer!