Last night as I was making dinner my daughter asked if we could sit on the front verandah and eat. It sounded like the most wonderful idea and after we all fixed our plates and made our way outside I began to think about what life is going to be like after my kiddos leave.
I don’t like when we’re having sweet little moments in time I have to turn and twist it to something it’s not. I should have been more in tune with the now, but instead I was looking ahead to the future to a time when my kids wouldn’t be sharing these four walls with me and I was picturing myself crocheting on the sofa, alone.
I know how pathetic it is, and I also know I do still have a while, but that’s what I said long ago, and 15 years have gone by in a flash.
Even when they were little and I was going on no sleep, their leftovers, and dry shampoo, anytime I’d think about them growing old enough to leave this house, it would made me sick to my stomach.
I somehow felt like time would soften the blow, and the older they got, the more I would get used to the idea, but that’s not happening.
As I look at my teens, the thought of them moving out is unbearable just as it was when they were in nappys. I keep putting it out of my mind, and over time it comes crashing through my brain (and heart and soul), but no matter how I try to swallow it, it won’t go down without choking me up.
I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those parents who are counting down the days until their kids go so they can have some sense of freedom and perhaps a room for their hobbies– I wish I were, because then I’d be able to get through family dinners like this without feeling so nostalgic it puts a damper on the whole evening.
As parents we get so used to the unknown, the chaos and commotion, the nurturing of everyone – but what are we supposed to do when that’s gone? It comes on so fast and furious, it takes you years to get used to taking care of other human beings who are depending on you, and to undo that learning feels impossible to me.
I know my kids will always need me. I know they will always appreciate a home cooked meal, and gifts from their mum. I’m sure I’ll be able to visit them regularly, but I know it won’t be the same– once they leave, nothing will be the same.
This way of thinking is selfish of me. I realise when they fly from the nest, it will be when their lives as an independent person will just be getting off the ground. There is so much excitement for them ahead– but for me, I can’t help but feel like a huge reason I was put on this earth will be taken away.
I guess for now I need to be more present than ever. I need to enjoy those unplanned dinners on the front verandah, taking the long way home to steal more time with them, and remember, in some way, there will be a part of them that will always need me.
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