Friday, October 16, 2009

An Empty Nest.....

"The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. Any why shouldn't it be? It is the same the angels breathe."

~Mark Twain, "Roughing It"~

Today I woke up wondering if I might possibly be THE worst mother in the world. There are a lot of conflicting emotions when ones nest is suddenly empty. Over the years I have read all sorts of things about empty nest syndrome from falling into deep pits of depression to failed marriages. One never knows how one will react until it actually happens.I once read an article by Emilie Barnes where she told of her last child, a daughter, leaving home. She said she stood at the end of her driveway waving until her daughters car was a tiny speck then she turned, let out whoop, jumped into the air, and clicked her heels together. Now would be her time.If you know anything about Emilie and her ministry or her writing you will know that she is an amazing woman who was a totally devoted wife and mother who took her duties very seriously. I am shocked that my initial reaction of "OH NO!" has so quickly turned to "OH BOY!" Now is my time.
I keep asking my two best friends, who have traveled this path before me, if this is a normal reaction. Should I not be missing her desperately? Should I not be worrying more and not less? Shouldn't I be depressed and wanting to stay in bed instead of bounding out each morning with a new found sense of freedom? Is it wrong to love that I now get a hot shower in the mornings instead of a tepid one? Is it selfish that I love not being relegated to her work schedule for meal times? Is it wrong that now that the weight of the daily task of parenting has been lifted off my shoulders that I feel lighter, more free, and ready to embrace this new season of life? OR do these things make me THE worst mother in the world?I am finding empty nest syndrome to be very confusing. I am not depressed and my marriage is not stressed. I thought it would be devastating. I thought I would be roughing it, but it feels like a very natural order of things. By releasing my daughter to spread her wings for her solo flight in life, I am suddenly finding the joy in a little solo flying of my own. We are in a sense sharing this new experience together yet in separate ways. It is a bonding without previous boundaries. The fresh air we are now flying in is indeed very fine, very pure, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? I feel God's blessing. Now is our time.

Miss Sandy


Unreasonable Grace said...

Sandy, I am of the opinion that - if you have raised your children to be independent, to make intelligent decisions, and have seen this maturity in them - you should experience a feeling of freedom. Perhaps the mothers that feel like their children are not yet ready for life on their own feel some sort of panic; that their child still needs them smack dab in the middle of his/her life. Perhaps it's just a personality thing. Some personalities let go easier than others. I am an independent and pragmatic person and have raised three step children to be the same. Two are gone from home now, and their independent personalities have served them well thus far. No guilt here! Just another chapter in life. More time for hubs and me.

Linda said...

I think it's great that you have this attitude about it. I'm one who has always lived in a state of melancholy, so I don't know that I'll be quite as content as you when the time comes for me. I only have ONE child - a daughter, as you know.

In many ways, I feel like I'm more relaxed about this issue than a lot of moms because my daughter has spent time away from me since the time she was just a baby. I've always been in the habit of leaving her with my parents for extended stays when she was growing up so that she would have a close relationship with her Grandparents and so that I could have my alone time. After my marriage to her Dad failed, this became even more regular since she travels to his house every other weekend or so.

I'm also quite accustomed to spending time apart from my husband since he travels to Canada at least once a month (used to be more frequently) to visit his daughters, so I've come to love those quiet weekends alone.

But still... at this point, I always know my daughter is coming back. I'm already getting sad that this is her 8th grade year and while I'm also happy and pleased about that, I'm sad because I realize that my time of parenting is quickly coming to an end.

Knowing me, I will be depressed from time to time but then I will write, which is what I love almost as much as parenting. ♥

Barbara H. said...

I enjoyed this, Sandy. I only have one out of the nest so far with my middle son having gotten married thus summer, and I've had conflicting emotions. I've grieved a little over the things we'll likely never experience in quite the same way again. On the other hand, laundry and groceries for one less adult does make a difference, plus Sunday mornings are easier to navigate with one less person to get ready for church.

I imagine as the others leave the nest I'll experience some of the same mixed feelings. Funny thing is, when they were all little I longed for the empty nest days. Now that those days are coming closer, I want to hold them off a little longer.

The Feathered Nest said...

I feel the same way Sandy!!!! I think it's because we have things in our life that we love to do besides taking care of our children. I've always enjoyed my hobbies and art so much....and you're right, it's time to have a little "me" time!!!! hugs and love, Dawn

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

We are to raise our children the best we can and then give them wings to fly! Having hobbies and passions allows us to continue when we no longer have to take care of our children. I think those who have a hard time with letting go just don't know what to do with their extra time. I'm always looking for extra time and try to squeeze it in everywhere I can. Enjoy your newfound freedom. You earned it! Peace & blessings, Tammy :)

KathyB. said...

In reading the comments of the others I think you have some wonderful answers. When I was a young Mom I thought I would grieve over our children leaving home, but when the time came, I was ready. We had raised them to make their way in life, hopefully remembering to trust and rely on God for wisdom. And as someone else said, I have a full life here at home with or without children. Plus, anyone who has a loving and beloved family finds you get together frequently to enjoy each other's company and fellowship, what more could a parent want?

SharDon Exclusives said...

Sandy, what a precious post. We are only women and we vasilate between womenhood and being little girls. We carry so many responsibilites and worries on our shoulders then all of a sudden we have to turn it ALL over to the Lord and let Him give us new feathers for our wings so we can fly. Your new found freedom is the Lords' way of giving your daughter her freedom and her wings! Congratulations and don't allow anyone to guilt you into feeling anything but your new freedom.

Cheptoek said...

I think it just means you did a great job being a mother. Good for you!

Decor To Adore said...

Oh Sandy, I am hearing you! I allowed myself one week to wallow and then I made my to do list. :)
This is truly a time of trial for my daughter and I have to pause and remember that she needs to experience all of life.
Yes, I am struggling and juggling and so thankful that I have such wonderful friends who leave me such beautiful prayers.
Thank you!

Bonita said...

Sandy, you are just enjoying the fruits of your labor for a job well done! You have just become my inspiration for that season of life when I reach it.

God has given you the grace to move to the next season of life. Raising your daughter was a huge part of your life, but it wasn't your whole life. She isn't your whole life. The Lord is your life. The main thing hasn't changed and there is a security and joy in knowing that He is still the center. He's your stability during this season.

I hope I feel the same way when my time comes. I hope I'll do a little jig, thankful that my children are the mature young adults I'd always hoped they would be and that I now get some extra time for me, the Lord, my husband, and to pursue some things in life that have been only fleeting thoughts during these mothering years.

Oh how I wish I was nearby so we could have tea and celebrate! But you go ahead and celebrate without me.

secondofwett said...

When the eldest of my nine went off to college, I cried and missed her terribly...when the eldest son went of to college, it wasn't as 5 have left and 4 still remain...I'm dreaming of the day when I can feel lighthearted again because the dad to day parenting has been lifted from my shoulders. Enjoy!

marmee said...

i am not sure our nest will ever be empty...6 children spread over a 20 year span. our grandkids are at 4 now so it justs keeps growing our family.
we seem to have a perpetual revolving door of one or more coming back home for extended periods of time.
i am looking forward to one day it just being my darling husband and i. that is how is all started in the first place.
your life should be full whether the children are home or not.
enjoy and don't feel guilty or like you are the worst mom for not being what the world says you should be.
happy autumn.

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