This has been a big week for many parents that I know. Either their kids were leaving home for college for the first time or starting Kindergarten or even their 'last first day' of high school. Most of these parents (who I've been reading on Facebook) are feeling the empty nest syndrome in one form or another. They are thrilled and excited for their kids, of course, but a bit sad and nostalgic at the same time.
When I read their posts I try to be sympathetic and wonder how I will feel when it is my turn to send one of my girls off to college. For some reason I just can't feel their pain. I have chosen to not comment because what I really want to say is, "You have no idea how lucky you are." This is supposed to happen. This is normal. And for one of my girls, The Toots, this will never happen.
Tessie will never leave for college. She will not graduate high school. I will not get to sit in the auditorium and listen to her possibly give a speech about her future or tell tales from the class trip. There will be no Grand March. No father/daughter dance. No first kiss. First love. No wedding in a white gown as her dad proudly gives her away to the man of her dreams. She will live with us until we are no longer physically able to care for her.
This is not how it was, or is, supposed to be.
And so it makes it easier to look forward, not to having Blake leave, but to this rite of passage that every child should get to experience. The same goes for Ellie. Every time something comes their way that they can possibly partake in, from sports to plays to sailing on a schooner, I encourage, because I am so grateful that they are physically and mentally able to do all of those things.
Now don't get me wrong. I know that the parents who are feeling a bit lost without their kids at home or whose kids are just starting out in 'big school' are very grateful that their kids are experiencing all that life has to offer. I also know that if my circumstances were different, I would be commiserating right along with them. Ay, there's the rub. My circumstances are so very, very different.
While everyone can understand the feelings of the empty nest syndrome, few can understand the feelings of a parent whose nest will never be empty.
Usually I try not to think so far down the road. It will be a bumpy road to say the least, filled with many twists and turns, so why bother fretting over it now? But as Blake get closer and closer to her high school graduation and Ellie hers, I can't help thinking about what does, and what does not,lie ahead for Tessie.
I can only hope it will be good. I can only pray that I am up for the challenges and rewards of always being a stay at home mom.
But keep your eye on me (if at all possible) when the day comes that Blake and Ellie do graduate. After all my big talk about how it is normal and the way life is supposed to be, chances are I will be bawling like a baby and thoroughly embarrassing myself while crying out, "No, I'm not ready to have you leave!"
After all, I need to remember that two of my babies will leave the nest some day. They will give speeches and go on class trips and have Grand Marches and father/daughter dances. They will go on to hopefully marry and have families of their own.
Aw, crap, I think I'm getting teary just thinking about it...