It’s Complicated

My daughter called me this morning to take me to task. “What’s all this about an empty nest?” she asked. “You sound way too happy about it.” She was referring to a recent Facebook post in which I celebrated my son’s graduation and also commented that he was away this week visiting friends, which allowed me and my husband to get a little taste of what an empty nest feels like. “We like it,” I had written.

“I don’t know why this bothers you so much,” I replied. “You’ve been gone for years.” “That’s not the point,” she said. “You’re still our parents. You’ll always be our parents. Stop acting like you’re trying to get rid of us.”

The fact is, I am not trying to get rid of them.  But good parenting, by definition (at least mine) means that we have equipped them to become independent, eventually self-motivating and self-supporting, and that eventually they WILL go away. And Ron and I will need to look at our own lives differently. Who will we be when our every waking moment isn’t about managing our children’s day to day activities? Now that I’m not fussing about homework and getting up in time for school, what will be the role I hold in my children’s lives? Sure — there’s still a lot ahead. (I foresee fussing about getting a summer job and getting up in time for work….) No body is completely self-sufficient yet and I don’t think a day will go by where I don’t think of, talk to, pray for or care about my children. But my role is changing. And as happy as I am that my youngest has reached and passed this milestone, I don’t know exactly how I feel about it. There’s a sense of freedom and opportunity. But also, a sense of loss. It’s complicated.

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11 thoughts on “It’s Complicated

  1. Natalie:
    I am blown away by your blog because I have a lot to say about parenting and wanted to start writing about it. Especially grand parenting and my relationship with the grands now that they are grown. I’m impressed with your blog and your writing. It’s down to earth, straight forward, funny at times and mostly the way I feel.
    How did you create this blog? I want to do the same. I have been writing my book for years and for some reason stopped. Last nights reading and your blog is inspiring.
    Help me start my blog please besides just blogging on FB.
    I love you even though I haven’t seen you in years.
    Your cousin
    Nayda

    • Hi Nayda! Always good to hear from you, no matter the years. So glad you like the blog. I’ll be happy to help you. I’ll send you a message on FB and we’ll talk.

  2. I admired something a wonderful friend and great-grandmother used to say. She found a plaque with the saying on it and gave it to me one Christmas. I treasure it::

    There are two things you give your children: one is roots ~ the other wings.

    • Thank you Barbara. I’ve heard that saying, but I’d forgotten. It’s a good reminder. And it also makes me think that it’s time to check on my wings as well.

  3. Reading your blog is a learning experience, and you are a great teacher I have three small children 2, 3, and 8 and I often wonder if I am doing the right things, but what I am learning from you is how to be the best mother I can be.

    • Hi Markia, It’s kind of tricky isn’t it? But all we can do is the best we can and trust it will turn out well!

  4. Hi! I don’t have any kids yet. In fact, I am not old enough to have any children leave the nest. But I wasn’t sure where else to leave this comment, so I guess its going on this post. I came across your blog, I am sorry I don’t remember how, but I have read ALL your posts. And even though I can’t directly relate to you seeing as i dont have children or a husband… your blog has been somewhat comforting. Reading your thoughts and just remembering my adopted parents struggle to “let go” but being oh so ready at the same time. Anyway, thank you for posting your thoughts. 🙂

    • Hi Meghan – I’m always amazed at the way stories connect us, even when it seems that we share different experiences. At the core, there’s something that just rings true. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  5. Love and enjoy your blog and the great wisdom you give us.Simple and honest, quite and yet blod..Love reading the words …Give me comfort and the joy of life
    In the same place as you are right now and I have to say when you have done the job right it is wonderful place to be……Raising children is the best and hardest job I have ever done and I am proud to say that my children give to the world and do not take……Thank you for this blog………..
    I am still loving my floor cloth and look at it daily.thanks again

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