August 24, 2014

Empty nest syndrome is more like…..

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:36 pm by whatsupwiththat

heart ripped out of your chest disorder.  The youngest is away at college (for the first time) for the last 48 hours and it has been a rocky start.  While things look better now than they did yesterday, I anticipate it is still a bumpy road we are on and I am keeping the tissue box handy, right next to my cell phone. 

In the next 48 hours, the oldest will move out again after having been home for the last 18 months and while the second time saying good bye is easier, it still isn’t a walk in the park, at least not for me.  I completely immersed myself in the role of stay at home mom for the last 13 years.  It was first and foremost at least 110% of the time as my number one priority.  I am grateful to have an understanding husband who enabled me to concentrate on home and family and put my career on hold.  Enabling has a bad rap in some mental health circles, but for the most part this was a good sort.  Far from being a helicopter parent, I have, as the boys got older, tried to (and usually successfully) hand over most of the decision making and problem solving responsibility in a supportive and loving manner.  Mistakes have been hard to watch and even harder to stop myself or my husband from cleaning them up or making them right.  It has been messy and there has been yelling and gnashing of teeth but before you can say, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” a corner has been turned and our family structure is now stretched, never to congeal back to that nice, secure nuclear unit in quite the same way we have been for the last 21 years.  Sure, going to work the first time after I had each of the boys was agonizingly painful and my arms would begin to ache somewhere around 2:00 each afternoon for the first few weeks.  More than once, I would drive home crying, positive a truck would smash into me and I would not ever see my precious infant again.  Next comes the parade of first days of school:  Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and High School.  Each of these steps got easier and easier as the years passed.  Sending our oldest off to college three years ago made for a lot of weepy nights and sudden watering of the eyes in the grocery store as I passed a favorite item of his, but I still had his brother at home, my motherhood badge was still in effect 24/7.

I never expected that physical pain I felt when missing my infant son would return 18 years later when it is now him leaving me and the next time I see him is not going to be within 24 hours. As I have passed my youngest son’s empty bedroom for the last two nights, not able to stop and say goodnight and have him bend down for a kiss, it is painfully clear that I am still a mother of two young men but my role is diminishing as they take over near full responsibility for their lives and leave my husband and I to carry on ours.  Nobody tells you about this kind of separation anxiety before you become a parent (add that to the long list of what you don’t know and find out the hard way!)

The  youngest was never the noisy sort, but the quietness of the house is overwhelming, even with his brother, the very noisy sort, still here. The stillness shouts, “Times are changing whether you are ready or not!”  Just as I hope my sons are thinking, Look out world, here I come ready or not!  So I am taking comfort in the idea that I am sharing my sons, they are not gone forever, they were never really ‘mine’ to begin with.  They are becoming their own and these steps they have to take alone, but they still know their way home and where to find their father and I to share their joys and sorrows, accomplishments and fears, ideas and dreams.  Pardon me while I go find the tissues.

 

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