Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Understanding The Empty Nest

I never really thought much about the empty nest syndrome. I know that it pertains to when your children move out of the house and on with lives of their own. Sometimes the move is local and still they are near enough that you can visit them on occasion. Yet there are times when they move much further away. My children are a little of both. My oldest son is near enough that we can visit whenever we like. My other son is in DC and my daughter is in Tennessee. This has been an adjustment especially since 2 (soon to be 3) of my grandkids also reside in Tennessee. Their moving left me with much of a similar feeling as I babysat them for a good portion of time before they moved.

I have learned over time that although we as mothers look at our children forever as a child, they do grow up and they do create a family and life of their own. There does come a time when this is made quite evident. I have always tried to not be the kind of mother that nags too much or seems to butt into their lives more than usual. Yet still I am reminded from time to time that I may need to make adjustments. I do not agree with all the requests that may be made. Yet I do understand that it is their lives and the ultimate choice is rightfully theirs.

I will say that the relationship between my children and myself over time has caused me to reevaluate my relationship with my mother. Maybe that is just the way the evolution of parenting goes. When you are young you do not realize what some of your words or actions may do. You view them from your point of view and they are rightfully justified. Yet as time moves on and you find yourself in a similar situation yet on the other side, you realize that such things may be more hurtful or harsh then you ever meant them to be. This goes both ways I think.

I have learned that this growing process can be painful to all who are involved. Whether or not it is a smooth process depends much on the communication and/or relationship between those involved. Patience is an asset that is greatly needed and helpful for either party. An open mind and a realization that there is discomfort felt by all who are involved is also something that is good to know.

Am I suffering from empty nest? I am not sure really. Sometimes I think I am, as I miss the interaction and relationship that I used to have with my children. Yet I see them in their new families and activities and know that they are happy and evolving well into the world. I am proud of their accomplishments and the challenges that they place ahead of themselves to continue to become all that eventually they will be. I understand the restraints of distance and the fact that it keeps the once easy visits from happening. I understand the need for time together alone as their own family to help build tradition and form a history of their own.

Still I miss them. Still I wish that I were momma again. I was far from the perfect mother. Is there such a thing? I think we all learn as we go. Trying to be and do the best we can. Looking back sometimes and thinking maybe if I had done this or not done that. Yet things in the past are just that… in the past. I think I will call my mother today. I think I will tell her how much she means to me and how much I appreciate all she has ever done for me. I think I will let her know that although I may not show it all the time that I truly do love and above all respect her. She did the best she could. No she was not perfect, but she was there.

Maybe we don’t get to be called momma again until our children are older. Until they too have gone through the times and trials of parenting that help them to eventually understand the actions we may or may not have taken. Maybe it is not until this time that we have enough time to sit and listen to their side of the story. Maybe that is what the empty nest is all about.

12 comments:

WyldeSage said...

I think about my mother more and more these days. She just turned 80 a couple of weeks ago. I know she had empty nest syndrome, once I moved out, being the last child. Her life had revolved around just taking care of the kids. I love my mom very much as well.

Catpriestess said...

I started to tear up reading this post. My twenty-two year old son, lives close but "far" as your children are and I remember the days so vividly when I was there for every breath he made and wondered at the same time, why in heck did I decide to become a mother. I also remember my mother saying to me, "just you wait, Wendy, until you become a mother yourself." I think empty nest is an apt metaphor, mother birds, do their best to make sure their babies take flight, then move on to the next phase, whatever that entails.

Sparkless said...

Oh goodness you've got my crying now! My kids are young teens but I can imagine them grown up. My mom lives close by and I'm inviting her out for coffee and a hug.

Toni aka irishlas said...

I have to admit, the first year of being an empty nester was hard, but, I've come to love this next phase of my life - even if I am a crone now :-)

Dede said...

I love going to my mama's for coffee and just chatting. Her and I can spend hours just talking and laughing. Sometimes we venture out to go shopping, but not to often, neither one of us care to shop. The past is just that, the past.

I know that you have watched Lion King. When the monkey (Rafeki SP) hits him in the head with the stick. He asked what was that for? Rafeki said it doesn't matter, it's in the past.

Hope that your week is a warm one! I have left something on my blog for you.

(((HUGS)))

AkasaWolfSong said...

Very beautiful and very wise...

My what a heartsong!

Blessings to you Mother Moon...

faerwillow said...

~you have brought me to tears too...i think of this often and since i have become a mama i have many times called my parents to apologize for different things tha thad happened in the past...soem of which i would have never acknowledge unless brought before me through my own children now...life is a cycle at which i do not think we are ever fully prepaired for...i hope to be able to embrace the empty nest syndrome and find comfort in them leaving and building their own families yet i know it will be such a transition...so many times i think of our families especially during holidays and such when we have to divide time...that i think will be hard to accept when they choose to be with another family but it is life and we all go through such cycyles...my heart is with you and i know you are loved much by those in your life...comfort be with you always...brightest blessings~

Bogaman said...

This is a great looking family. Grandkids are specail. We're not as strict on them for some reason. Maturity probably has something to do with it. X.

Tamara said...

I know I have empty nest syndrome. My kids are spread out between MN, CO and FL. I'm lucky enough to have my mom and dad right across the way from me tho...i get to have coffee with my mom every morning and I enjoy every second of my time with them. :)

Jana said...

I miss my mom, she has been gone 2 1/2 years. I called her house to listen to her on the answering machine for a long time. ( The recording was changed last year.)

I started thinking about the empty nest much earlier than most. When my 18 year old was 13, I started to stress about it. When I was young, all I ever dreamed of was being a mom.

I have 3 older children, Mahria 21, Corky 21 and Bobby 18. Then I have two Empty Next Syndrome babies, hehehe. Quince 3 and Emma who will be 2 this month.

My heart and hands are beyond full. Together my husband and I have 9 children and 8 grandchildren. My oldest son is in the Navy stationed in Japan, that is way to far away. It is tough. My second oldest is in Alaska, that is also to far away.

The rest are pretty local, thank goodness.

It is really hard to respect and accept the kids choices sometimes. I bite my lip a lot. I understand they have to walk their own path, but as a mother, I want to pave that path with cotton balls, so they don't fall to hard.

:-)

Judy said...

Mom has been gone since 1984 and I still miss her...I came home just the other day thinking I'd must tell her about something that I saw during my day...I told her, but it wasn't the same...she died too young...I'm that age now and it's a bit scary...

Bridgett said...

I love the way your blog posts look. They're so aesthetically pleasing. And your words are always so precise and right on.

I'll be honest, I already think about the days my kids will fly the coop. I have an added worry, however, that Parker won't be able to. While parents always say they want their children to stay with them forever...it's not true. Parents want to see their kids spread their wings and fly on their own. It's the reward and celebration of all those years of hard work. Let's face it, parenting isn't easy. In fact, it's downright hard.

And I just worry that won't happen for both my children.

But I can tell you this...I'll do everything in my power to see that it does.