Monday, June 1, 2015

Empty Nesting 101

One of my sweet Pearl sisters-in-law shared a blog post with me via Facebook yesterday.  It was titled "25 Rules for Mothers of Sons" and came from a blog called Life Out of Bounds.   Well, I tried to read #25 (my favorite--the writer definitely saved the best for last!) out loud to my husband last night, but I couldn't get through it.  I got all choked up and started to cry.

I'm going to share #25 with you, lucky readers; this is the one that really got to me, as a mother of all sons (and no matter who you are, you might want to have a tissue handy):

You are home to him.  When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back.  When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile.  When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you're the only one who will listen that many times.  When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands.  When he is sick, he will call you.  When he really messes up, he will call you.  When he is grown and strong and tough and big and feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious.  Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun.  Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.

Okay now, pull yourselves together.  I'm not done with you yet.

If you come around these parts much you know that on May 25, I said good-bye to the youngest of my five sons--and that he was heading to a state far, far away, where he will begin his grown-up career.  My husband was on a trip at the time, so I was the only one there to watch him back his car out of the driveway...and to wave at him through the trees as he drove away.  After he'd pulled out, he put his car in park and grabbed his iPhone, and he snapped this picture of the old homestead.  That night he posted it on Facebook, with this caption: "Welp, today I left the place I've called home for the past 22 years to start my career as an adult.  Although it's weird and sad in one way, it's cool and exciting in the other.  And despite what my mom might've been imagining this morning, I will make my way back to it somewhere soon down the road."
By that night, he had finished the first of four long legs of driving.  He had planned to get as far as Buffalo, but here's the rest of that Facebook post: "Also, before I start being a professional adult, I figured I'd make a detour to Niagra Falls."
My husband said he almost advised our boy not to veer from the best trip route just to see this, but stopped himself.  Our son had thought this through; he'd never seen this famous landmark and it's what he wanted to do, so who were we to tell him he shouldn't?

I'm loving the Niagra Falls selfie (and also feeling grateful that although he'd been told that the Canada side of the falls was better than the US side, at least his detour didn't take him over the border).

I'm also loving the fact that this kid only had about two weeks to transition from being a happy-go-lucky college senior sharing a house with seven other guys to being a car-owning, cross-country-driving, responsible adult getting ready to begin a challenging career in a state he's never been to, and that he handled it all with his usual quiet confidence and resourcefulness.

Watching your child take his first wobbly steps as a baby is a thrill that's hard to equal; but it is also indescribably wonderful to watch him take his first tentative steps into adulthood, and to know that you've helped him become a man who is ready to take on its challenges.  He'll still need you, of course; but not all the time, and not for everything.

All of this got me thinking about a post I wrote just over a year ago, all about the unique joys moms can look forward to in the empty nest years.  As I need to remind myself about the many pluses of having grown children right now, instead of focusing on the negatives (I miss my baby!!  I wanted him to have more of a summer, home with us, before he had to get out on his own!!), I decided to re-post it today.  It's sweet, and if I recall it was pretty popular when it was first published (own horn, consider yourself tooted!).  If you tend to be leaky, you might want to have a tissue handy.  Okay then, here's that post, mamas.

Now, time to focus on my husband.  Whenever I say I have no one to take care of anymore, he reminds me that I've still got him. 

Thank goodness!


  1. Oh my gosh ... I teared up over and over again reading this!!

  2. I so love how you write about the transitions, the years when they try their wings and fly or flutter.
    Your son's fb message teared me up, what a beautiful young man. And he will do well, you and your husband have given him the tools to do so {{}}