Emptying the Nest

When my youngest child was a little girl, the first couple of weeks of each new school year brought about lots of tears. Lots and lots of tears. From both of us.

She would cry when I would take her to school in the morning and when I tucked her into bed on school nights. Amongst the tears were emotional declarations of, I just miss you so much, and You’re my best friend, Mama. It broke my heart. I would maintain my composure and dole out lots of hugs, kisses, and reassuring words, only to dissolve into tears as soon as I was out of her sight.

Fast forward to all these years later, and as she graduates from high school, I am the one whose tears are on full display. The little girl who used to say, Don’t worry; I am never going to leave you, Mama, is indeed leaving me.

Since she is my second child to reach this milestone, it would seem like this would be an easier transition. But it’s not. Not only is it not easier, in some ways, the second time around feels worse. This time, I know the nagging ache of missing a child who is away at college and the shift in our family dynamics and daily routine that will occur. This time, though, I won’t have another child at home with me. This time, my nest will be empty.

Logically, I knew this day was coming, but logic be damned, I still am not ready for it. As happy as I am that she will be joining her older sister at the same university in the fall, selfishly, I am sad for myself. I will miss both of my girls so much.

The quote that leads off this post was shared with my daughter’s senior class at the beginning of this, their last year of high school. As I reminisce about everything that led up to my daughter’s graduation, I thought that this quote truly captures my mixed bag of emotions.

I feel so very grateful that I have been able to accompany my daughter on these first 18 years of her journey, and I cherish the memories we have created together. I am beyond proud of the beautiful, strong, compassionate, confident, funny, and bright young woman she has become, and I know that greater things await her. She is ready to leave the nest, and while I may want to keep her underneath my wings, I know that it is time to watch her fly, albeit with tears in my eyes.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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