An Empty Nest

It has barely been a year since my 23 year old daughter, Sister Bear, my middle child, moved out of the house. My eldest son, Brother Bear, has been out on his own for several years already as he is 29 now.  Life has been challenging for him.  He’s had relationships that were not healthy, a daughter in another province, and a little boy he held as his own for two years until that story changed. Then just last year, January, 2017, was the loss of a full term infant in delivery.   He is now in the healthiest relationship of his life.

But my daughter moving out came too fast.  After she had been away at university for 4 years, and home for a few months I was caught off guard by how fast everything changed.  She had been talking about it, but was thinking likely in May.  Luck would have it that she was able to find a place, in another town, 45 minutes away, for the beginning of February, 2017.  She was moving into a rooming house, and everything seemed like a perfect fit. This place had two other young people, and was only 4 doors away from a friend of the family.  As we were driving to see this potential new place, my daughter was having butterflies, and was undecided if it was giddiness or tears.  When we got there, she knew it was the place for her immediately. The room was already the same colour as her bedroom at home, a peacock teal colour.  Her artistic teal and purple decor would suit it beautifully.

So, this left me with my youngest son at home.  Being such a home body, and such a quiet peaceful soul, I figured he would be around until he was 30.  Well, he planned on moving with some friends to the big city, I was happy when those plans fell through. I didn’t want my baby moving from the small town into the big city that I am too nervous to drive in.  I went right back to believing he would be with me for a long while yet.  But as luck would have it, another friend had plans on moving out on his own as well.  This is a young man who spent many weekends here over the course of several teenage years. Just like another son, he would open the fridge randomly, and sleep on the sofa, eat my food, and mess up my house.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I knew where these kids were. I knew they were safe. I knew they were all great friends and had their heads on straight.

But, then it happened.  Mid-August, 2017. I went to work in the morning, and came home to Baby Bear’s empty bedroom in the evening.  I knew it was coming.  I just didn’t know which day, or who had a truck to help out.  I didn’t have to help at all.  We had been shopping for the kitchen and bath essentials, but the rest was taken care of proudly by a young man striking out on his own.  I walked into his empty room, grabbed the broom and swept up the remnants of the teenage boy dust.  I didn’t cry.  Everyone thought I would.  I took a breath, and sighed, then cranked up the music and fixed myself a steak dinner for one.

As the weeks passed, I had a few moments where I wished he was still living at home.  When the lawn needed to be cut, and the garbage needed to go out.  But when my brother joked over the phone,  “I hear you’re suffering from “Empty Nest Syndrome”” I laughed out loud.  Heck, No!  I am not suffering at all.  I am rejoicing in it.

The boy still comes home every week or so for dinner, and to do his laundry. He is wonderful about mowing the lawn, or crawling into the crawl space for me to get things like Christmas decorations, or to put them away again.  So all is good.  I just truly and honestly believed this boy would be home for 10 more years, not leaving when he was barely 20.

I am very comfortable knowing I gave them roots and wings.  They know that home is wherever I am, and wherever there is love.  They are strong enough to test their own wings, and determined enough to use them, even if it means sometimes flapping them madly.  Wings to take them fluttering or soaring. Roots to keep them standing upright and grounded.

I done good.