The Empty Nest?
Is it really ever empty? Last night I was looking at a picture of my boys- they were so young. I remember pointing to baby pictures of my son Chris and saying to him “I want that baby back.”
I didn’t realize then that the memories are what we hold on to. We look back at pictures or sometimes objects and they remind us of old times. Hopefully, they remind us of good times and happy days. I love that I can smell a certain food cooking and think of my grandparents cooking dinner in their home.
I look at pictures of my children or videos and relive the days when they were young and depended on me for everything. Today, someone said to me “how are you working full-time and a full-time student?” Of course my shoulders went a little straighter and I wanted to throw flour in my face and say “oh….one day at a time” (with a dramatic backhand across my forehead). What I did say was, “I don’t know.”
Then I went home and thought about the question and I realized at that very moment that I didn’t have that much responsibility at home. My children are grown and my husband is amazing and I just don’t have that much to do once I leave work. Yes, I do take a lot of work home with me, but I absolutely love my work and most of my friends work with me (or most of the people I work with are my friends). Life is good! My nest is filled with memories that I cherish. My children had to grow up at some point and I realize that they will probably not need me as much, but a whole new world has opened up for me. I can pretty much dance to the beat of my own drum! Isn’t that what I was complaining about all these years? Not really. I loved being able to do it all. I did it all and had the support of a great family. My greatest achievements are my sons. They all grew up to be amazing men. I am proud to say that none of my children were ever in trouble with the law or did I ever find that they tried drugs or other substances (notice I said “did I ever find out.”)
In the clinical sense of the words “empty nest”, described as feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents/caregivers after children leave their childhood homes- I am not sure I can claim that I am an “empty nester”. I think that more mothers work these days, enjoy the fact that they can (sure there are moms that enjoy working at home as well) and therefore feel less emptiness when their children leave home. In my previous blogs, I said that my mom couldn’t wait until we left home (married). I also told the story of my mother-in-law whose children all left within a month. Sure they (okay not my mom) had feelings of sadness but they also had lives outside of their children (work, choir, church etc) and those “empty nest” feelings, I can assume, weren’t as intense as they could have been. They also have their memories and THEY STILL HAVE THEIR CHILDREN!
I find peace in knowing that my boys are good boys and that they all continue to make awesome life decisions. They all aspire to be the best they can be and I think that is all we can ask for….and a phone call a few times a week to your momma is nice too.