I find myself thinking about other moms. Not other “parents”. My husband has a different perspective of “empty nest”. I remember putting away the playpen after my last son no longer used it…I saw it as my “baby growing up” and letting go of “the momma”. My husband saw this as another step to freedom for us and independance for Chris. Anyway, I started to think about my own mom and dad and how they handled our exits. There were five of us growing up in the house (later we found a 6th who had been adopted out – another story) and it just seemed that we would be there forever…until my younger sister decided to fly the coop and move in to an apartment. I remember that mom didn’t handle it well. – I think because Nancy wasn’t married and moving out.
One by one we all took turns leaving and getting married. I was first, then right in birth order, Nancy, Neil, Christine and Charlie. Mom was a trooper? No way, she couldn’t wait until the day we were all flying away…although we weren’t allowed to move too far away. My mother told anyone who would listen that she would have the doors of the churches electronically locked after we entered – in case we changed our minds. All the way down the aisle my father said “You don’t have to do this, you don’t have to do this.” I often wonder what it must be like to have so many people in the house and then so few. So I asked her today, and she said “Are you out of your mind? I couldn’t wait to have my house to myself.” She was telling the truth, she really couldn’t wait. It’s not that she didn’t want us, she didn’t need us to be there all the time. She would always be there for us in case we needed support (my mom is the type to throw a few bucks our way instead of a hug – dad’s the hugger). When I asked her to how she handled it, she said “In case you forget, each one of you came back with a spouse to live in the apartment downstairs.” I did kind of forget that. We all came back at one time or another to pay cheap rent and steel mom’s toilet paper and paper towels (as she reminded me). Now that we are all well established she finds it comforting to know that she can call us whenever she wants and continue to dole out orders without having to live with us. She is almost 80 and says that she will never live with any of us. I tend to believe her. I’m grateful to my mom for pushing us to be independant. It is the process of life and we all need to experience the independance of making our own decisions and mistakes. Mom is a strong woman with some strong ideas about how people should conduct themselves. She claims “I’m Italian, that’s how it is supposed to be. You are supposed to live on your own. We won’t be here forever!” And that’s how it is..
I am lucky to still have my mom and dad and siblings. It took a lot of years to appreciate the people who are around me…friends and family. I hope that my children have learned from this and have taken both the good and bad that I have taught them. ( Yes, there was certainly some bad sometimes.)