Yes, I’m dramatic and yes, I know some moms are thrilled to get to the empty nest. However, I’m not one of them. Believe it or not I think that might be the blessing of a bigger family.
Too Aware of Time
You’d think it would be the opposite. You’d think after raising six kids I’d be paying them to leave. Instead, as the numbers dwindle and I continue to make way too much for dinner now that there’s only four of us, I get sad.
You see, when you’ve experienced the older ones leaving, you look at the younger ones differently. Literally, every morning I look at them for changes. Who grew over night? Whose voice is an octave lower today? Who no longer wants to wear ribbons in her hair?
I guess after experiencing three leaving the nest, I know all too well how little time I have with the three left at home.
Back up and Slow Down
Don’t get me wrong — grown children are a blast. I look forward to them all being grown, traveling to see one another, and laughing about childhood memories. I adore when the older ones visit and we are all together. There’s nothing better. I just want to back up a little, and slow down a lot.
In not much more than a year my worry has gone from praying for good driving skills to praying they stay out of war zones. My eldest son seeks adventure, so he gave OTR truck driving a go just before the pandemic hit.
As cities burned, I hit my knees like never before and wondered how on earth he’d stay safe going from one place to another. While others were concerned about toilet paper, I worried my son was a target for angry mobs.
The chaos settled and I began to breathe a bit more, but only for a minute. Only until my 18-year-old daughter joined the Air Force.
It seemed like no biggie, and actually a pretty good idea since it would pay for her school. She sailed through and I missed her like crazy. Then on her graduation day — her graduation day — the attack at the Kabul airport happened. I was slapped into reality, and it hit me, the Air Force owns her. I can no longer protect her. She protects me.
Just be a Dentist
The next one coming up plans on joining the Marines and he has no idea I cry daily as the days keep flying by. While I prepare for his last year of high school, he prepares for his dream job; to be a United States Marine. He just bought a weighted vest so he can carry extra weight as he runs. (I carry extra weight as I run but it’s not on purpose.)
I’m his mom. I’d like to stop him. I tease him regularly that being a dentist is always an option. Still, I’ll never try to stop him. I know a lot of moms would. But his life isn’t mine. My job is to raise him and let him make his own choices. His dad and I raised him well, and sadly, I know this is the right choice for him. It’s all he’s ever wanted.
The Worry is Worth it
I don’t feel sorry for myself. I can’t imagine a mother prouder than I am. My children are incredible and I find nothing more exciting than seeing who they choose to be as they grow up.
Today my oldest of them all visited with my darling grandson. Let me tell you something, grandchildren arrive just in time to save us from despair when the older ones leave. Little does my daughter know, I still worry about her as well.
I worry when she’s out and about just having a nice time with her son. That’s the world we live in these days. So much anger and strife. For us moms, the worry is intense.
We Carry on
So, I’ll carry on as always, smiling and trying to make the world a pleasant place as I connect with others. I’ll hit my knees again this winter when the next up begins driver’s ed. I’ll cry when my youngest, the baby, turns 12 in November. I didn’t used to cry at birthdays but I do now.
There is a hidden blessing in worry. It causes us to cherish every minute with our children. More worries are coming. Deep breaths and a lot of prayer.