When making life choices, I seem never to take the easiest path to anywhere. From choosing a middle school out of my district (because who doesn’t want a clean slate. . .at eleven years old?), to choosing to keep the baby I conceived whilst losing my virginity, to marrying a man I knew I wasn’t in love with because the man I was in love with wasn’t ready to marry me. Yet. (We’re married now! But, I digress.) The trend has not ended with age and wisdom. Nay, for me the whole “you are at eighty who you were at eight” appears to be SO. Very. True.
My oldest son moved away a few months ago. This is normal life-stuff. He is nearly nineteen and a freshman in college. Of course, he moved away. However, eight days before he moved five hours north of where we live, my family and I sold the home he was raised in and purchased a brand new home on the other side of town. Eight. Days. That’s what I gave myself between two life-changing events. Have I mentioned, I am not very good with change?
As it turns out, neither is my son. So, here we each sit. Disheveled and unsettled. Anxious yet excited. Proud of our accomplishments, and sorely missing the joy of sharing those successes with one another. Parallel experiences, making each moment of growth that much more bittersweet. You can’t be a mere sixteen years apart without some degree of healthy (?) codependency. I find comfort in this, whatever his future therapist may say. . .
Now, more than a full month later, everything still feels wrong. Half-finished. Paused. Tonight we had tacos for dinner. Without Jesse. Tonight I tucked my children in and hugged each one goodnight before climbing into bed. Well, two of my three. Because there is now always someone missing. Always one chick fallen out of the nest. Now instead of walking through their rooms on my way to sleep just to see that they’re safe and sound, I have to text and hope that he responds before I fall asleep. Or worse, I have to make myself not.
I don’t care what anybody tells you. When the nest starts to fall empty, it really, really sucks.
Maybe if I’d waited to move out of the home he grew up in. Or maybe if we’d moved into this new home just a little bit sooner, so he had more time to leave his mark here. In this way, when I wallow my biggest wallow, I find my mope to be intolerable. I know women who have lost children. Cancer. Car accidents. Suicide. Mine just went to college ~ it’s every mom’s dream! How dare I?
Let me share a little secret with you ~ everybody has their own hell. I have been lucky enough not to have suffered the loss of a child. Well, that’s not true. I’ve lost several, but all in the womb. My point ~ I am not so shallow that I don’t see how insensitive this can be to those that have suffered the unimaginable. It’s just that because I haven’t. . .because I was given this gift of seeing my son grow into an incredible person; a brilliant, compassionate, talented person who I genuinely enjoy and admire, when he’s gone it leaves such a void in my heart. In my day. Please don’t make me apologize for that. I know I’m lucky to have him at all. The thing of it is, that doesn’t make me miss having him around any less. . .
So, I cry sometimes. I mope often. I play the piano, and I miss my son’s voice after school every day.
When does that get easier?