Thursday, 24 September 2009

That awful expression

I'm told what I'm going through is called 'Empty Nesting'. But I'm not a bird. I do not nest, I have no feathers of my own (only expensively acquired ones on some of my garments), have no wings (that I admit to) and I've not got a long beak (nose is a different matter).

Still, my last baby bird has gone.

OK, that sounds too dramatic. She’s eighteen and has not left home for good, nor has she travelled to Timbuktu, nor gone to war in Afghanistan, nor is travelling around the world on a shoestring. No, she’s working with a family I've met in Finland. She has her Grandmother fairly close, her Godmother in the same city, and several of my good old (sorry, girls, don't mean in age) friends who she can contact any time of day or night. So it’s not that I’m desperately worried about her. Apart from the normal of course.

I never thought of myself as one of those mothers who’d mourn the departure of their children. When they were smaller, I used fantasise about coming to an empty house, and if on a rare occasion it happened I’d turn the radio and TV off and sit quietly enjoying the silence. I was keen for them to grow up, to be lovely adults (which they are) and to lead lovely, happy lives.
So I guess I just miss them. It’s an emotion hard to explain. I’m not a control freak. If you saw my house you’d know how true that is. When everyone’s home, I let the kids do what they like, even if it means that I curse under my breath when I’m faced with a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. So it’s not as if I want to have them under my wing all the time. No, I just really like their company, and the company of their friends.Yet it’s not even that simple. If they were just friends, I wouldn't suddenly have a lump in my throat driving alone in the car, or feel desolate when finding the house empty and eerily quiet at the end of a day. Or feel close to tears at the supermarket when realising how much less food just two people eat. Wondering if it’s even worth cooking anything?

I know I need to move on and move on I'm indeed doing. Goodness knows there aren't enough hours in a day to do what I have ambitions for, in addition to those everyday annoyances like sorting and paying bills, and (God forbid) paid (with actual money) work, let alone mourn the departure of perfectly well adjusted, clever, ambitious, healthy grown up children. Or are there?


little birds fly said...

sure there is time to mourn...and why shouldn't you? it's a big adjustment.

Susan said...

We just went through the "first schoolbus" routine here. I feel guilty because I don't mourn their growing up. I'm just too excited to see them become more of who they are. But when they leave? That will be a different story altogether.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club!
Just remember how lovely it is when they come home to visit YOU and not just raid the fridge before they are off again.
Furthermore they are in no rush to get up from the lunch/dinner table to meet up with friends as it is YOU they want to talk to. It will take your relationship to a whole new level.
However the home does feel really empty sometimes...

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I used to fantasise about coming to an empty house, and if on a rare occasion it happened I’d turn the radio and TV off and sit quietly enjoying the silence."

I don't think I've ever read anyone put that so well. I have been there and still fantasise about that. Do that all day, actually, but my husband and last son at home, come home at the end of the day. Wonder how I'll feel.

Thank you for this post

Wildernesschic said...

They have to leave so they can come home again .. and want to xxxx Thinking of you I dread the day xxx

Helena Halme said...

Thank you all for your lovely & supportive comments. Susan, please don't feel guilty about not mourning their growing up. I never did either, until they left...we always want what we can't have?

Gloria said...

Oh. . . bless you!! You should mourn, why shouldn't you . . it;'s perfectly natural. Reading this post brought tears to my eyes, really it did. It took me straight back to when my Trojan left home to live with his first proper girlfriend. I was overcome with grief and, may I add, raw, uncontrollable jealousy. I couldn't bear it and cried myself to sleep for two weeks. He returned home a year later, it hadn't worked and I welcomed him home and our relationship improved 'cos now he was not only my son but also a man. Now we're incredibly close and have laughed about this period, together.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I've a feeling it will help a lot of people out there with similar situations:)

Off to sign up to follow you now. Do drop by my blog when you have a moment and maybe you'll follow me also if you like what you see:D

See you again soon!