For almost 2 years I have been asking others the question, “How did you do it as your kids began to leave the nest?”
I started asking the question as the tears started a few months before my daughter’s wedding. Every time I would sit in my daughter’s salon chair while she plucked my eyebrows and gave me some love via my hair, they would fall–the tears.
The tears would think about leaking the morning I was scheduled to see her. I would coach myself on those mornings and beg the Lord please do not let her see my heart in my eyes.
Sometimes the tears began with a small squabble about something silly. We were not accustomed to squabbles or sadness–we typically enjoyed each other’s company BUT not in this season. I remembered one time my daughter asked, “Mom, what is wrong? I am worried about you.” My reply was, ”I have no idea what is wrong, but know this, it is not about you and you are not in charge of my happiness.” The last thing I wanted was for her to launch from our home wondering how to help Mama Duck.
The season of transition
I knew this season was not too big for my Father and me. I also knew I would miss her so much, and had no idea how to stay out of the way, and be that godly older lady in her life! I was gonna need some help!
So I kept asking the question to older women wherever I was, “How did you do as your kids began to leave the nest?”
The answers ranged from
- You will get through it
- It will get better when the grandkids come
- It’s the best time of your life…freeeeedom
It was one answer that gave my heart a needed balm: “You need to remember the world is bigger than just you.” Ahhhh…It felt like a flicker of light because I was not going to feel like a cloudy winter day in Michigan until grandkids!
Wedding #1 came and went and there was nothing but true joy watching my daughter prepare and me getting beautiful with her and the girls that day. Watching her walk down that aisle to a man that adored her was something I will never forget. She was gorgeously prepared and the groom was looking at her as I imagine Jesus does. The hug captured on camera of the grip and the silent “please take care of our girl” will hold a special memory for me. Tears were squeezed shut and joy for them was all I could feel.
There were still a few tears over that empty room she left behind. The tears would not appear again until AFTER wedding #2 a little over a year later.
This wedding would be our of oldest son. The prep of this wedding was busy, but being the Mom of the son held different feelings.
- How do I say “I love you” and “you are the best first born son I could have ever had”?
- How do I tell my adult manly son I will miss him? Can I even say that?
- I want to cut the strings so his new bride doesn’t have his Mom being dragged behind the getaway vehicle. I was pretty sure those cans they dangle behind get away cars would hurt and get all twisted up around me! How do I do this?
- How do I love them as they leave?
I was not prepared for this exit and everyone I asked seemed to have breezed through it. Am I weird? How do I not cling to the one son left behind? I love my husband but I really LOVED being a Mom! Maybe I should have worked outside the home, then I would “belong” somewhere! Why do I feel this way when both of these kids are marrying others who love Jesus!
Finding the Fledge Connection
Somewhere in between the two weddings, I met a women named Brenda Yoder. I went to a writing conference because I wrote a book a long time ago and blogged a little and thought maybe I will practice writing as the birds begin to fly. At the conference, we were encouraged to have a one on one with an author, so I looked at all the names and one sounded Amish. I always wanted to know more about them so…I picked her.
Brenda and I talked. We cried! We identified! She promised me a copy of her new book….
I waited for it as an advanced reader! It came around the time of the second wedding!
Do you know the introduction’s first paragraph hit me square between the eyes? “It’s painful because you no longer have control.” Then Chapter 1 gave me my diagnosis, “You Have Mom Grief!” Oh, is that it?! Well how do I get rid of it?!
Fledge says…..You cry…. and you remember you never did have control.
Then, on the bottom of page 28 it said what I always knew, “Nothing prepares you for your journey except for Christ and His Word.”
That is where I am. I have given myself permission to feel it all, and give myself grace, just like Brenda tells us to in Fledge. I would need it because the book helped me see what had happened in the years of parenting. I became part of my kids and hooked onto their joy and their sorrow. Yes, some of that is normal and good but I was not prepared for what was revealed. I cared more about me than them. Where do I run to and cry and say Lord please help me! I didn’t know it was happening! All the years are gone!
What happens when your identity begins to walk out of your house? You get on your knees and say I am sorry, and praise Jesus He sees, He knows and He will carry you to your place under His wings again!
Needy for Grace that is always mine,
A Fledge Mom
Get your preordered copy of Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind now at Amazon.