Empty Nest, Part 2

July 15, 2010

Dog gone it…

I woke up crying at two in the morning. Little memory loops from my children’s lives played over and over in my head. I tossed and saw one alone in a big city. I turned and saw me losing patience with another. I rolled over on my back and saw the house full of them. I sat up and opened my eyes with my maternal failings bearing down on me, and I then gave up on sleep.

Empty nesting in reverse…

When the house emptied, I felt the openness of it. The liberty of walking around half-dressed. The decadent echo of four empty bedrooms. The knowledge that a thing would be where you left it when you came back. The idea that all of the empty spaces could be used in other ways.

And then, in those sleepless wee hours, I saw how much of my kids’ need for parenting had come to an end, and I felt the weight of parental deficiencies from those busy kid-filled years.

Yet, in those middle of the night thoughts I also found relief. I had feared that I had celebrated too much when most folks mourn. And really, in that teary restlessness, I was kind of glad that I could experience the range of emotions… that the highs didn’t cut me off from the lows.

A nice thing… the coexistence of mourning and dancing.

4 Responses to “Empty Nest, Part 2”

  1. I’ve said it before, but these observations just get sharper and stronger. I could not be happier that my son is out flying more or less on his own. And I mourn that he doesn’t live in the next room. Happy he’s gone. Sad he’s gone.

  2. OwlSaysWho said

    Oh, chica. How well you capture the parent’s lament. Dream or otherwise…that coexistence is part and parcel of the whole.

  3. Laura said

    It is possible for things to remain where you leave them? Really? Did Gary move out too? JK, Gary! 🙂

    Seriously,you express the dual feeling of loss and liberty just beautifully.

    I am happy for you…and I am sad for you…

  4. Collie said

    Yes, yes. We are doing a trial run of empty nesting — a teenless July, at least in body if not in soul — and the mixed delights and bits of loneliness and regret are popping up just as you say. Range is good.

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