One would think that after sending the first child off into the world and crying for weeks on end that I would be stronger and more equipped as #2 prepares to head out.
The difference here may be the fact that Cody decided the day after graduation and took me completely by surprise. I was anticipating another year of him at home, working and going to school. This was unexpected.
I spent years building my nest for this family. My whole being went into every twig, every fluff of soft down used to line it with.
I built this thing to last forever.
At least until they started kicking it apart. Strong legs that Bill and I helped develop….legs meant to walk solidly away at the appropriate time…..are kicking this nest of mine to shreds.
I sit back and watch with pride, wonder and pure terror.
Everyone tells you “It is how it is supposed to be”. Hell, you tell yourself that, because by God it is true. It is one of the wonders of the world and should be gazed upon with awe.
The truth is, it is terribly painful. It is the end of a simply beautiful phase of your life and you can’t go back and do it again, no matter how badly you would like to.
It is a written and published chapter of your life. There are no re-writes.
I think we did it correctly for the most part. We were present for our kids childhood in a way that many parents are not. Our family cohered together to form a very strong body and we let the world just sort of spin around us in a blur while we lived our lives together….everyone and everything else in our periphery.
It wasn’t and isn’t perfect. God knows we have had our share of drama and heartache over the years. That is what happens when six individual beings share the same home together. It is certainly what happens when the little people you are sculpting become miniature grown ups and are ready to break out of the mould.
They are leaving at an alarming rate and kicking my nest all to hell. I am desperately trying to piece it together again in a different fashion, whatever that may be.
If you tell me that you are happy when your kids leave, I have to question why. Sure, I am proud as all get out of them and happy that they have their whole lives ahead of them…a clean sheet of paper to start writing on. They are so lucky because they are just starting! But happy for myself? Certainly I am curious about the future. How will it be in a months time to be just the 4 of us. How will it be when Quinn leaves and it is just Bill, Mia and I? And what happens when Bill and I are driving home from taking the last baby to college? My little girl!
What happens next?
I have devoted almost 22 of my 51 years to being a mother and I can’t turn it off, just like that.
Bill and I will probably buy a trailer, take off and travel around when Mia moves away. We will surf, enjoy some beers and relax on a secluded beach one day and it will be good. It may even be truly great.
But there will be 4 holes punched through my heart that cannot and will not ever be filled by anyone but them.
I wonder if when God said “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” he didn’t mean just childbirth. Maybe he was also talking about the emotional sorrow of letting them go as well. The anxiety of putting them forth into the world and allowing them to soar.
I know very well that once launched, they come flying back from time to time. I look forward to these moments and they bring me so much joy. One day they will come home with a family of their own to share with us.
In the meanwhile, I will still have 2 of the 4 here at home to finish raising, and will try very hard to live in the presence and not look too hard into the future.
When I was in Japan last month, I snapped a picture of something that set in motion some good changes I have made in my life. I was walking by a booth at an open air fair and had to do a double take.
There were people kneeling down to pray with the monks, and there, in front of God and everyone, was a monk on his freaking cell phone. WTF?
Seriously, isn’t it bad enough that everyone is on theirs all day, every day and everywhere. Do we really need monks scrolling FB while leading a little prayer time?
Anyhoo, it got me thinking about how often my kids ask me to put my phone away. I have a love hate relationship with it that has actually got to stop. Last week I deleted the FB app from my phone and I went cold turkey for several days. And you know what? I liked it. I don’t feel as stressed out, nor do I feel so very ADD. With Son # 2 leaving the nest, I do not want the distraction that comes with my phone, so I have basically stopped using it with the frequency I was before.
We are heading out on another journey and I want to be 100% present for it. I have this last summer before my son moves out and I want to make some great memories with my kids. Bill will be staying home to care for the house and the dog pack, and the kids and I are going to camp our way across the US.
I have to work as we go, so I will be bringing my laptop and will be logging our travels here.
See you from the road!