Empty Nest - Full Heart



(Altered Carte Postale post card winging it's way to you my friend)

Earlier today an e-mail correspondence 
back and forth with a dear friend
caused me to take a step or ten backward in memory. 
My own version of Time Travel. 

The discussion centered around a subject,
which at first glance to anyone not personally familiar, seems small. 

To myself and my friend, it is as huge as the void 
that is felt deep within in the midst of it all.

So I will present a morsel of what this subject is 
from my experience, and not trample on my friend’s personal chapter.  

I know that many of you dear Bloggies 
have gone through similar times.

When it’s time to say goodbye to one of your chicks 
as they leave the nest and head out on their own, 
the family dynamics change instantly.  

In my case, it was the oldest child 
who was heading to Boston to share an apartment 
on Commonwealth Avenue with two female friends 
who were going to college nearby.  

He struggled with the decision to take this leap of faith 
that he would find a job and live outside of the 
security of home.  

His dad and I struggled with everything that parents struggle with when presented with such an idea.  
My personal turmoil was very dimensional. 
On the one hand I wanted all three children 
to feel they could set out on adventures 
with the belief that had they NOT tried, 
they might regret it later. 

“You don’t know until you try” was typically what I would say.

At the very same time, while mentally cutting apron strings, the invisible but very strong heart strings were pulled painfully taut.

The frenzy of gathering items and packing him up
for the trek to Boston helped to waylay the emotions 
of the letting go.  

The drive there was filled with the distraction 
of discussions and laughter as we crept closer...
and closer... to the moment.  

What’s not to like about Boston and Commonwealth Avenue? (Brownstone #409 to be exact) 

It is exciting and filled with everything a young man should get to experience at least once in his lifetime.  

You unload the caravan and see the place for the first time and you are………concerned...

about the cleanliness

and evidence of creepy crawlies that this child,
....your firstborn, 
....your friend, 
....your entertainer, 
....the big brother to sister and little brother

has never had to encounter before.  

The noise of the street and the possible Axe Murderers 
(god, they hated when I used that term!!) 
that might be roaming the city, and what if he needs you 
and you are over two hours away…………………and you hug him hard and swallow big to hold back the tears 
so you can smile and let words of encouragement come out instead of the sob you feel welling up at the very pit of your stomach and beginning to suffocate your very breath

………..and you wave as you get back into the car 
and drive away feeling like a big piece of your heart 
has just been ripped out and nothing 
will ever be the same again…..
and the tears are huge and fall silently like giant raindrops on your lap.

The drive home is painfully quiet as both mom and dad are struggling with the letting go.

I missed him like crazy.  
The laughter seemed to stop for a while 
and the new momentum of the household was unfamiliar 
and so strange.  

For a while.  

Then little by little it became all right again.  

Because this is what is supposed to happen for them 
and for you. 

When the first one leaves you learn how to say goodbye 
to the next one and its a little easier 
because you have learned that it’s all inevitable, 
.............it’s all necessary,  

and it’s all good.

10 comments:

Gypsy Purple said...

Always a major thing for a mom to handla...I went throuhg it and now my sister in law is having a very difficult time. Great to have support

Patti Gramza said...

Rella, this scares me to read, because not only will Amber be my first to leave, but my ONLY!!!! Ohhhhhhhh I can believe that the laughter leaves for a while! I am thankful that Amber is chosing to live at home for her first year of college.....to begin next year! I know that day is coming though.....the nest.....will be a sad place!!!
Hugs,
Patti

audrey h. said...

Rella...you have such a way with words and this is another one of your posts that made my eyes water. i know that Montana is only 2.5 years old now but time goes by so fast that tomorrow he will be graduating from high school....waaaahhhhhhhhh. and i will still be thinking 'but you were just born yesterday' :o)

Anonymous said...

Cindy: Thank you for the lovely post, which echoes so much of what I am feeling now. I miss my little Jenna bird every day. I still can barely go into her room......but I am encouraged and happy about how great she sounds and I know this is the best thing for her. My heart actually sings when the phone rings and it is her on the other end!!!! I think we both get a little stronger each and every day. Thank you for your wisdom and understanding......
Hugzzzzzzzz,
Audra Mae

tina's space said...

Cindy,
This brought tears to my eyes because I know I will be in the same situation in just over 2 years. I am striving to try and remember each passing moment but the pain is so real. When did my little one become a sophmore in high school. I would love for him to go to college from home but it is unlikely. How do I cope? How does his little brother cope? I guess one day at a time. It hasn't happened yet but the prospect looms way too large.

One Crabapple said...

oh your story is so sweet and touching.

I am sending it to a friend of mine that has been going thru her own transition of her only child having left the nest....this will help her.

I love the Notes from the Nest Collage. BEAUTIFUL
It goes perfectly with your thoughts in your journal entry here.

Love, S.

Miz Smoochie Lips said...

That is such a beautiful collage...

jblack designs said...

So true, so true. What a great post. My life changed profoundly (being a single mom of one child) when my daughter went to college (2 hours away) almost 5 years ago. Then this Jan. she moved to San Francisco. How happy for her. How up-setting-the-apple-cart for me.

We moms grow to love a certain way of life, and it feels it'll go on forever, doesn't it?

Ah, the only constant is change...

Thank you for a lovely post.

jb

Maija said...

Sweet Rella! I can'tt stand the thought of my little ones moving on!

susan said...

Oh my...I've got three precious years left until my eldest leaves the nest. I hate to even think about it...