In nearly five years, with the exception of an errand run here and there, I’ve never been alone. It started the day my daughter came into the world, screaming, breathing, needing me, and wanting only what I could give her. From that moment, I was always needed and never by myself…until now.
This year both of my little people are in school. Although my youngest is only in school two days a week, it is two days that I am completely alone and have no one needing me. I keep waiting for one of the turkeys to ask for some chocolate milk, or one of the deer to walk up and want a snack every five minutes….but nothing. Silence. Stillness. And I miss them.
I am pretty sure that all I did was blink and now we are here. My babies are growing up and going out into the world without me holding their hands. They did not cry on their first days of school…but I did. I thought I would be stronger, ready for the rest, and ready for the moment that they were put into the care of someone else’s hands. I was not ready, but I did realize a few things.
I realized today that it is OK to miss them because they are a piece of me, a piece of my heart. Wherever they are that piece goes with them inevitably bringing me back to this place where I want them right here with me. It is unavoidable, terrible, and wonderful.
I also realized that, during this time, it is OK to rediscover who I am when I am alone. It is OK to sit down and have a cup of coffee and do absolutely nothing else but enjoy the silence. It is OK to remember that I am really good at other things in addition to being a mother to two wonderful children. It is OK to rekindle my passion for writing, drawing, creating, and enjoying the stillness around me. It does not mean that I miss them or love them any less. It is OK.
Maybe this is the universe’s way of slowly preparing me over the next 15 years for the dreaded empty nest. Maybe when it is time for them to leave, and maybe when I see all that they are able to do without me because they have grown into strong, intelligent, empowered, compassionate adults, maybe then I will be ready….but today is not that day.