Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Understanding The Empty Nest
I never really thought much about the empty nest syndrome. I know that it pertains to when your children move out of the house and on with lives of their own. Sometimes the move is local and still they are near enough that you can visit them on occasion. Yet there are times when they move much further away. My children are a little of both. My oldest son is near enough that we can visit whenever we like. My other son is in DC and my daughter is in Tennessee. This has been an adjustment especially since 2 (soon to be 3) of my grandkids also reside in Tennessee. Their moving left me with much of a similar feeling as I babysat them for a good portion of time before they moved.
I have learned over time that although we as mothers look at our children forever as a child, they do grow up and they do create a family and life of their own. There does come a time when this is made quite evident. I have always tried to not be the kind of mother that nags too much or seems to butt into their lives more than usual. Yet still I am reminded from time to time that I may need to make adjustments. I do not agree with all the requests that may be made. Yet I do understand that it is their lives and the ultimate choice is rightfully theirs.
I will say that the relationship between my children and myself over time has caused me to reevaluate my relationship with my mother. Maybe that is just the way the evolution of parenting goes. When you are young you do not realize what some of your words or actions may do. You view them from your point of view and they are rightfully justified. Yet as time moves on and you find yourself in a similar situation yet on the other side, you realize that such things may be more hurtful or harsh then you ever meant them to be. This goes both ways I think.
I have learned that this growing process can be painful to all who are involved. Whether or not it is a smooth process depends much on the communication and/or relationship between those involved. Patience is an asset that is greatly needed and helpful for either party. An open mind and a realization that there is discomfort felt by all who are involved is also something that is good to know.
Am I suffering from empty nest? I am not sure really. Sometimes I think I am, as I miss the interaction and relationship that I used to have with my children. Yet I see them in their new families and activities and know that they are happy and evolving well into the world. I am proud of their accomplishments and the challenges that they place ahead of themselves to continue to become all that eventually they will be. I understand the restraints of distance and the fact that it keeps the once easy visits from happening. I understand the need for time together alone as their own family to help build tradition and form a history of their own.
Still I miss them. Still I wish that I were momma again. I was far from the perfect mother. Is there such a thing? I think we all learn as we go. Trying to be and do the best we can. Looking back sometimes and thinking maybe if I had done this or not done that. Yet things in the past are just that… in the past. I think I will call my mother today. I think I will tell her how much she means to me and how much I appreciate all she has ever done for me. I think I will let her know that although I may not show it all the time that I truly do love and above all respect her. She did the best she could. No she was not perfect, but she was there.
Maybe we don’t get to be called momma again until our children are older. Until they too have gone through the times and trials of parenting that help them to eventually understand the actions we may or may not have taken. Maybe it is not until this time that we have enough time to sit and listen to their side of the story. Maybe that is what the empty nest is all about.