Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some Thoughts On Emptying Nests

Soft air this morning. The rain broke that heaviness, left everything a little more bearable. Getting a little cooler too.

I don't really have much on my mind today. Things I should do before Owen gets here. Make up a casserole for supper because he'll be here until eight tonight and how in hell I used to manage cooking with babies and kids to tend at the same time escapes me now.
How did I do it?
HOW did I do it?
I don't know but I did. Got some sort of supper together every night with every age child around me.

Jessie called me on her way home from a long night's shift. It had been her first night being independent- not being mentored. She is learning so much. I am so amazed to see that child all grown up, helping women with their babies now. Some of the things she is learning are so sad- that not all babies make it. That not all women are going to be great mothers. That not all babies get here being wanted. But she sees the other side too- happy, loving families welcoming fine, healthy babies.
She is living her life, as are all my children and I am still part of those lives, but not nearly on the same level that I was, of course, when they were young. When they were constantly underfoot, taking all of the pots out of the cabinets when I was in the kitchen, cooking. When they needed diaper changes and nursing and then ballet lessons and karate lessons and, and, and...

If I had one thing to say to any of you who have a nest which is becoming emptier all of the time it is this- you will not die when they all leave. You will not die and you will be okay and so will the children. You will both be living your lives. And they will still need you and you will be there, even if it's just on the phone, to say, "I am so proud of you."

It's not going to be easy. That space where there was so much energy and color and whirling light will seem so empty for awhile. Yes. It will. You may even go a little bit crazy.
But you'll survive. You'll figure it out, how to fill (or maybe not!) that space. You may find that your life in and of itself swells to fill the space. You may just be getting used to that gift (yes, it is a gift) of having your own space and time when grandchildren start arriving and then everything will shift again.

That is how it has been for me.

Your babies grow up but they never will not need you. Not in the same way- no- and that is good. Would you, as the mother of a toddler, wish to keep them in diapers forever? It is the same when they are trembling on the verge of adulthood. It will be time to let them go and you will do it.

We never quit learning and growing and changing. Never. One stage of our lives bleeds into the next and we must, perforce, adapt. We can fight it, we can grieve in advance, we can even tentatively look forward to it but we will never be quite ready and that's okay.
We shall learn by doing. Just as Jessie is right now. The hard parts, the good and amazing and miraculous parts.

And we shall look back and say, "How did I DO that?" and we can look forward knowing that we can do this next part too.

That's where my mind is leading me this morning as I sit here on my porch in Lloyd as the sun comes out, as the air is soft, as the boy is coming, as the man is on his way home, as the chickens scratch in the yard, as the dogs nap in the sun, as the yellowing leaves flutter and rustle in the breeze.

If you have raised them right (and I feel certain you did), they will always want to come home and lift the lids of the pots on Mama's stove because no matter what- Mama's cooking is always the best.

Happy Week Before Thanksgiving, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. beautiful. I love the way you write.

  2. The rain was nice. The leaves in my yard are so beautiful. I have pink pedals by the roadside and then the driveway is lined with golden/yellow leaves.

    I like this post.

  3. And sometimes the nest was really just a nest with no babies in it. But, yes, that is an adaptation of sorts too. We all get by.

  4. Thank you Mama... for this piece of writing and for being there when I need you and for telling me that your proud of me. Because you are absolutely right. I need you and daddy now just as much as ever, just in a different way.
    This is a beautiful post. I sure do love you.

  5. One day, I'm going to get me one of those nests :)

    WV: matery. Fo' real.

  6. oh my god, you are speaking right to my heart here. I often think, "HOW will I live without young ones in my house?" Logically I know it will be fine. I liked my life before kids, and so it stands to reason that I will like it after they leave too. But, just...I needed to read this. Thanks.

  7. You are more than wise. I appreciate your porch so much.

  8. Even though my children are still young and I have not experienced an empty nest... I am dreading it... why? well because I feel with my own mother who has me and her grandchildren so far away from her... a 9 hour flight away... I would love for my kids to be next to me all the time but I know that if they did, then they will never experience life.

    Your post spoke to me... you have a way with words... and you are so perceptive... yup... my mother's (and grandmother's) cooking is THE best... definitely hands down... it is amazing how many times I have enjoyed other people's cooking...and find it very tantalizing and tasteful... but my mother's cooking is in the back of my head...
    Thank you for a lovely warm post.

  9. This is all (at least from the child's point of view) very very true. I love you Mama.

  10. Terena- Thank-you so much. I am glad you do.

    Ms. Fleur- You have some of the most amazing camellias and sasangua in your yard I have ever seen. I am filled with lust for them when I walk by your house.

    Syd- Your nest is never empty. It may not have held children, but it has held much.

    HoneyLuna- You KNOW how much I love you. Well, you sort of know. And I AM so proud of you.

    SJ- On to the matery! Ha!

    Lora- I'm glad you read it. You will be fine. I swear.

    GradyDoctor- You are the wise one. I love it when you visit my porch.

    Tabouleh- I know how very hard it is to imagine a time when the babies grow up- how scary that thought can be. But like I said, they will never not need you. They will never not love you.

    May- My love, my darling, my sweet, sweet girl. I love you so. I am so proud of you, too. You know that with every breath you take, right?

  11. I know because you tell me, and I hold onto that, especially when I am as tired as I am now, finally sitting down at one in the morning. You give me strength. I love you I love you I love you.


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