Two-Thirds Empty, Soon to Be Two-Thirds Full


The Little Ones Have Grown Up
First a follow up on my For the Birds post about four weeks ago.
I saw the tiny fuzzy-headed babies the first time the day before Mother’s Day and by the end of the week they’d tripled in size and flown away.  This is the second set to leave and I’m feeling the pain of empty nest syndrome.  I’ll miss watching the parents sit on the nest and keep me company as I water my tomatoes and cucumbers.  The changes in four short weeks have been amazing.  As the Mourning Doves hatched, grew, and left, the first tomatoes are almost ripe.  Time goes by so fast.
Almost Ready to Pick
It’s the same with raising children. It happens way too fast for me. Matt is 17; when did that happen?  He reminds me (almost) daily of his desire to leave home after he graduates next year.  The last one of three to leave.  The nest is two-thirds empty.
I remember when my older son Brian left for college moving a few hours away from my home.  That was in 2000.  For weeks I broke down in tears if anyone mentioned his moving out.  Every time I visited I went through a half-box of Kleenex on the way home, trying to swallow the lump in my throat but it wouldn’t go away.  My daughter, Michelle, moved out the following year.  She stayed in the same town for a while so it wasn’t as bad.  Then she moved to San Diego.  Four and one half hours away (driving at midnight, with no traffic, on a weeknight).  I was beside myself with sadness again.  I loved visiting, but the leaving and saying goodbye were almost too much for me.
I was (and still am) one of those moms that never pushed my kids out the second they turned eighteen.  I enjoyed having them around.  It seemed like the years flew by like days, although raising this last teen has made some days feel like years.  I wanted them to be independent and move out when they were ready.  But when the time came, I was never ready.
This coming week my daughter will be moving back in for a while.  Personally, I’m overjoyed.  The nest will be two-thirds full again.  Michelle and I have a lot in common and we enjoy crafting and each other’s company.  Plus as an added bonus, I won’t have to take her to the train station and hide my tears since she’ll be around for a while. She and Matt also enjoy each other’s company.  She was sixteen when he was born and Michelle got up with me during many middle of the night feedings.  They quickly bonded and are still best friends.
And yes I know the day will come way too soon when Michelle will move on and Matt will move out.  My heart will be torn again.  I don’t look forward to the day when they both will break the news. I hope they stagger it out a bit so I have time to heal and be prepared.   But until then, I’m going to enjoy the time I have with the youngest and the oldest.  Because we know time goes way too fast.

5 thoughts on “Two-Thirds Empty, Soon to Be Two-Thirds Full

  1. A heartfelt post, Joan. Made me think of a friend of mine whose daughter is venturing out across the country with her boyfriend this week. The mom can barely pull herself together. I'm going to send her your blog address. She can see she's not alone and also how another mother handles it.
    Thank you for this. xoA

  2. I have three on their own and two still at home and like you I enjoy having them around. Other mom's would dread summer vacations etc..and I would be saying yay now we can do more stuff together. People try to rush through their lives only to find out they should have slowed down. Oh and by the way I have tomato envy right now 🙂

  3. I don't have kids but I've been a kid who moved out of her parents house however many years ago that happened. I'm willing to bet that your oldest kids had almost as hard of a time with that initial separation as you did. Enjoy your 2/3 full house! 🙂

  4. My parents had 9 children and at 18 you had to go. lol But i noticed that when we all started to leave my mother was really sad. She welcomed any of us who wanted to come home and stay. I dread the day when my girls grow up and move out. Great Post!

  5. Our kid–they come, they go; they break our hearts, they lift our souls to the heavens…God bless 'em, they are truly our life's work.

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