It’s time. The hardest part of parenting. Well, for me and most mothers. The empty nest. My new normal.
A Mother’s job is to teach her children not to need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success.-Unknown
I have three children, one boy, two girls. They are all close in age. I homeschooled them all from 4th grade to 12th grade. We were together all the time. I enjoyed being with them and we had a lot of fun!
Then one day, almost overnight it seemed. They all grew up.
It all started one afternoon in November of 2017. My son announced he was joining the Air Force. While I was thrilled, being an Air Force brat, I was sad. My first born was leaving the nest. I took it hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled for him. I was so happy he was starting his life. I was just sad that he was ending his time in my home.
Flying the Nest
When one leaves, the others follow. Technically both girls still live in our house. But they don’t spend much time there. They are building their own lives, attending college and spending time with boyfriends, Both of them work for me, so I still see them all day every day, but not in the same way. Yes, I am happy they are finding their own way, but sad they don’t need me any more.
The Need to be Needed
On my journey of this empty nest, I discovered that I needed to be needed. I’m the one everyone comes to to find things (I have “mom” eyes), asks what their schedule is and has answers to the weirdest questions. I am prepared for any event…….except this one. The empty nest.
This discovery helped me learn about who I am as a person. It also allowed me to teach my daughters not to be this way, to learn to create a different outcome. While it is nice to be needed, you don’t want everyone to be totally reliant on you. That’s not what a parents job is. We have to set them free and trust in our parenting.
The New Normal
I made another discovery. I had to learn to be alone with my husband.
That may sound strange to you. We’ve never lived alone without the children. You see, when we married almost 15 years ago, I had three children from my previous marriage. He adopted them and we raised them together. He’s honestly all they’ve ever known. But we have never lived life just the two of us.
It was a tough time in the beginning. I was grieving my child moving out and grieving who I was. I had lost the person I had been. That person wasn’t really, well, needed.
I realized we had to create a new normal.
Time, Healing and one Supportive Husband
Here we are two years later, with a practically vacant nest. It has taken that long for me to realize life hasn’t ended. It has simply changed. This is a new season.
But time couldn’t be the only thing that helped heal my heart. I have one amazing and supportive husband, He has loved me through this time, helped me work through my feelings, my sadness and my anger. Whatever I needed, he provided. A listening ear, a helpful hand or just being there.
This year I did several things that is working toward our new normal. I began creating new traditions for just the two of us. I traded in my huge Lincoln Navigator for a more manageable Honda Pilot, I’ve let my children make mistakes. I’ve disagreed with their decisions, but loved them and supported them.
I’m still that mom that wants my kids to need her, but I’ve also realized that I did a good job raising them. Maybe, I need them too.