Empty nest

My youngest daughter moved out today. I thought I was ready – I’ve been mothering for 35 years, and  I am tired of telling people to clean up their room and do the dishes. We’ve been anticipating this day for a long time. But as I stood in the living room early this morning, surrounded by the boxes of her belongings, reality hit and the tears flowed. She’s really leaving. But she’s just a little girl. She’s too young. Even as these thoughts bring more tears, the knowledge that she is ready, and she is strong, helped me to return to sanity.

Carol Anne is the youngest of seven. I didn’t think it would be harder when she left than it was with the others – I’ve shed tears for all of them. There were many days when my nest was so full that I felt completely overwhelmed.  Today, I do feel like a mother bird who has carefully made sure that the eggs would hatch, then faithfully provided for the babies, with their heads thrown back and mouths opened, dependent on me for food.sevenbabybirds

 I watched each baby grow and learn, occasionally venturing to the edge, flapping their wings more and more, until one by one, they flew off, wobbly at first, falling sometimes, gradually gaining confidence and strength.babybirds3

Some are a little resistant.

babybirdfirstfly

Some are fierce no matter what.

babybirdwalking

 

They all eventually conquer the challenge and fly free.

flying-bird

 

I am left alone, but not bereft.  Each one of my babies is forever tucked right under my heart, nurtured in that secret place inside that only a mother knows. No matter where they go, they are always with me, even the most independent of the bunch. I am satisfied that I have done something good by bringing these humans into the world, as messed up as the world can be. I strongly believe that each of them has a God-given purpose – and mine was to nurture these and let them go. I made mistakes, but I have learned not to judge myself – I did the best I could with the awareness I had at the time. They are all amazing and forgiving. My purpose as a Mother never ends.

grandma cartoon

PS. Carol called me to let me know that all is well. She is only 3 hours away, in Nacogdoches, TX to continue her music studies and follow her dreams. And I? I see a beautiful future for me, too, as I follow my own heart.