Who thinks about an empty nest when they first decide to be parents? When we made the decision to have kids (way back 26 years ago), we didn’t talk about what it would be like to have an empty nest someday. We were too busy being scared to even take the first step!
We went forward together on blind faith that all will be well, with a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting in hand.
It was and is all well. And…we’ve discovered how much of a treat it is to be a parent, even an empty nester parent.
My only regret is that I didn’t take more pictures along the way. I was so engrossed in what was happening, I didn’t grab my camera. But, on second thought, being absorbed is a good thing, especially when it comes to parenting. If only my memory could snap out a few Polaroids to prove it? That technology hasn’t been invented yet!
When I wasn’t taking pictures I was in the process of growth right along with my kids and my husband. Together, we’ve watched our daughters grow and mature and walk away from us strong and ready for life’s adventures.
In the last 5 years, we’ve all grown so much together while we’ve been miles apart.
Both girls have a bit of my attitude toward life. “You tell me I can’t, I’ll show you I can, and will!” They’ve got that look…and they haven’t lost it all these years growing up with me as their mom! We couldn’t be more thrilled with them and how they’ve stuck together, despite being miles apart, and through major milestones in their lives. Sisterly love is awesome.
Our oldest moved out of our house right out of high school. A major tug on a momma’s heart – pictures of “oh…this is a tough time for me…” are few. My mom’s dementia journey began about then, and in retrospect, I’m sad I wasn’t there more for my daughter. Despite my mental absence, she thrived and even put us to the U-haul test her share of moves in the past 5 years. Her next move, I’m only guessing, will be a big move. Time will tell. She’s helping lots of little kids in their early growth in the career path she chose after graduation. They are lucky kids for sure!
Our youngest, well, she’s challenged all of us by moving the furthest away. While our oldest moved just over 2 hours away, the youngest said: “I want to go to school in Chicago.”
Gulp…that’s 6 hours away…
And, then, “I want to live off campus, will you help me find a safe place, like in daddy’s arms, but close to the bus/train station?”
With an awesome roommate, who we fell in love with just like she was one of our own.
They made a scary deal for mom & dad, a ‘doable’ journey all the way to graduation.
Each move-in, and move-out, and every hello and goodbye in between, we’ve all grown stronger, braver, and ready for more adventures!
PS…I love to visit the Windy City…but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to wave goodbye. Except for Pizzano’s pizza…and Logan’s square’s Jam…hmm, a road trip to visit may be in the works?