Empty Nest? I Wish…

Every year, I have a blue bird couple that takes up residence in the blue bird box on my screened porch. And every year, I watch as Daddy blue bird stands watch over the household and Mom blue bird works tirelessly building her nest, incubating her eggs, feeding her chicks and then coaxing them out of their home for bigger and better adventures beyond our back yard.

And when those babies fledge, which I have had the opportunity to watch twice, Mom and Dad will perch on the opposite side of the box, usually on my trellis and squawk and squawk at each kid until they finally take that leap and fly out of the nest. Sometimes they stumble, fly in to my potted plants, get confused, look scared, but after a few moments, they gain confidence and fly off.

For the next month Mom and Dad teach them the ways of the world and off they go to find fame and fortune and not get eaten by the neighborhood cats.

This is the way it is supposed to happen.

But many of us still have a 18 plus year old at home. Either they are not going the college route, going to a local community or tech college, working full-time, burned out from high school or generally dealing with having a hard time leaving the comforts of their home.

So this Momma blue bird squawked and squawked and this baby is STILL HERE…

I’ve read all of these heart-felt posts about having an empty nest. Dealing with the reality of having their kids go on to new and bigger things. Exceptionally sad yet happy for the new phase in their child’s life. You people are LUCKY. Geesh.

I love my daughter with all of my heart and have enjoyed (mostly) every single minute of her growing up years with her Dad and I. But Girlfriend, it’s time.

Time to for her to find herself. Time for her to find out about the REAL world. Time for her to fend for herself. Time for her to ENJOY herself without her helicopter mother frantically texting her every 30 minutes she’s out on a weekend night. Time to make mistakes. Time to fall really in love. Time to make new friends.

And I know that she is on a different time schedule and going off to school may not be her thing. That’s cool. But it’s time.

And what Mom, in her right mind, would miss THIS???

There are many of us out there that are just waiting for the moment that the kids fly the coop and we are counting down the minutes. You just don’t hear about us. We were the moms who didn’t cry at the bus stop the first day of kindergarten. We were the moms high-fiving each other and pouring Bloody Marys on the first day of school.We were the moms that DREADED summer vacation (mostly in the teen years)We were the moms who thought 5th grade graduation ceremonies were ridiculous (it is after all, something that a kid SHOULD do, you know, go on to 6th grade???)We were the moms that sat, at 4 am, in line at the school to get their teen a parking space so we didn’t have to drive them to school. We DID cry at your high school graduation. Yes, a bittersweet 12 years has gone by.

But the next day we were at Target buying bedding and furniture for your new dorm room or apartment. 2 months ahead of schedule.

For all of you out there saddened by your upcoming empty nest, I feel for ya. I know, I know, end of childhood, end of being a hands on mom, facing aging, yada yada yada. Boo freekin hoo. Take a hint from Momma blue bird, she got those chicks out of the house in 4 weeks. She’s our hero.

So to all my girlfriends facing the empty nest with dread in a few months, it’s time. Come on over, I’ll have the box wine. The chips and dip. It’s time-to celebrate. It’s finally OUR time. The best is yet to come.

 

18 comments

  1. I appreciate your honesty. I’ve always been a little annoyed at with the whole empty-nest-and-I’m-feeling-sad movement. It’s like a competition for who was most devoted to their child/children – and now who’s most sad that they are gone – but who – heroically adjusts to the new “life”. Ah, I sound cynical.

    But you are right, it’s time for the kids to go off, make their mistakes, and over time, because it take time, quite a few years, in fact, for them to grow up and finally gain perspective on their own life and the parents who raised them.

    This doesn’t happen overnight. I wonder if the parents who talk to their children every day are trying to re-write history so that their children remember them in an ideal way, rather than as human, people/parents who probably made a few mistakes.

    Anyway, GREAT post.

    1. SO glad you are on the same page-I am so excited for her next chapter-my early 20s were awesome and if I had some morose mom lamenting about it all over Facebook I don’t think I would have had as great memories

  2. You made me laugh. Still, I am that mom who is happy my daughter is back at home post college as she transitions to her next phase. The cats and dog like having her around as well. I am working on her shift from “what’s for dinner?” to “what can I make you and dad for dinner?” Good luck to you …. and me

  3. I so agree. I’d love an empty nest. My daughter left, but got married and had kids before I could even walk naked from the bathroom to the kitchen. And now I have the grandkids here all the time!

  4. Thanks for sharing! Even though it is taking some time for me to get used to the empty nest, if mine were still home I would be right there with you – envious of that momma bird – and joining you daily for that box wine!!

  5. I love the beejeezus out of my 2 kids but honey, they’re gone & the Other Half & I are traveling every month.
    Spain in 3 weeks!
    They call me every day so I think they’re having more trouble letting go of ME!
    And that’s ok, too…

  6. I am right there with you MAP-I love my kids, but I never missed them when they went back to school-that is where they were supposed to be. I love how clean the house stays with them gone, how I don’t have to make dinner if the husband is away etc. I have one more to go to be an empty nester and I am so shaking that nest!

  7. I have a 20 year old that is making me a grandma at 40 this year. I was heartbroken when she left and secretly want her to come back so I can have my grandchild wake me up every night. (Maybe I should rethink that)I also have a 14 yr old that I see every other week because I share time with her dad and it kills me. How do I break out of this longing to have my children with me?

    1. Well, if I were in that situation I’d feel the same -and the 14 year old needs you more than you know-my guess is that she will be with you more than him in the coming turbulent years! And when I had my daughter I realized I couldn’t live without my mom – it will happen I promise!

  8. I agree with you Mary Ann…once the shock of where you’ve finally landed in life has worn off, empty nesting is not all that bad. My advice is to just keep looking forward–once you allow yourself to go back and reminisce and become melancholy, you’re done for!

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