The Empty Nest
I've been avoiding this topic for six months, since my daughter married and moved out. Leaving us with the new normal known as the empty nest.
The first few weeks were the most difficult and I found myself roaming the house, tears streaming my face. I wailed and screamed one day. I would've torn my clothes if I'd known how (let's be honest, I also didn't want to ruin a perfectly good tee). I found myself in the middle of a grief I wasn't expecting.
The night sounds were gone. The Bachelor wasn't on my TV screen anymore. Taylor Swift's voice echoing through the house was gone. The fragrance of her perfume evaporated.
"What's for dinner, mom?"
"Want to go to TJ Maxx?"
The choreography of living together for nearly twenty-one years stretched thin like an old rubber band and now there's silence in this home as she's off learning the dance of life with someone else.
It was hard when our son left for school and then started a life in full-time ministry several hours away.
Nothing prepared me to mourn being mommy.
I'd spent the last twenty-four years raising children. It was my thing. My club membership expired that cold day in December. Yes, I'm still their mom, but I'm not mommy-ing anymore.
And it's tough.
It's simultaneously the worst and best thing to ever happen to me.
I'm free to do more, yet I don't have her around to tell me if my clothing choice is appropriate or fashionable.
I don't have to share the television, I can watch BBC until my heart's content.
But when I'm out and I see a little one and his mommy it stabs my heart.
When I'm home I have time to work on my projects that I've saved on Pinterest.
I'm slowly finding myself again.
I've written more poetry in the past six months than in the past six years, albeit sad poetry. I've time to find the words that struggle to be free.
I watch my adult children thriving and wouldn't change anything for them.
I'm learning to be content but the grief is just around the corner, waiting to jump at me when I walk by. Instead of avoiding it, I let it surprise me and I deal with it each time we meet.
I believe it's making me stronger.