When my nest emptied and my children flew away, I was shocked by how much it hurt.
I knew that I’d be sad: after all, I love my children and loved having them near me. I knew that I would shed some tears, but I wasn’t prepared for the emptiness that flooded my heart and soul. I was truly lost for a while.
Time has gone by, and I’ve grown more comfortable with my new life. I like the time that I have for myself, and the time I can spend with Paul. My children are happy and so am I.
But sometimes I wonder why I lost my sense of balance when they left home. Why I felt so dark.
I’ve been doing a bit of introspection lately, courtesy of all this extra quiet time. (And a good therapist.) And I came to a realization about myself that should have been obvious, but wasn’t.
I am one of those women who never quite feels that I am “enough”. Not kind enough, not patient enough, not smart enough, not loving enough, not stylish enough….you name it. I know that about myself, and I try to kick myself when I catch my inner voice telling me that I just need to try harder and do more so that I can be more. I try not listen, but still that vicious little voice whispers in my ear.
But as I was thinking about myself, I started remembering those Mommy days, when my little ones were around me. And those Mom days, when my teenagers were here, making hellacious metal music in the basement and eating me out of house and home. And I was thinking about how I felt all those years, how I felt about myself.
It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
When the kids moved out, it wasn’t only that I was missing them. I knew that it was time for them to move on into their own lives. That fact wasn’t what had me grieving so deeply.
Not entirely. As I thought back, I realized that what I had missed more than anything was the feeling that being their mother gave me. I missed how I felt about myself all those years.
Taking care of my children, being their Mother, was really the one thing I have ever done that has made me believe that I was enough. Just being me was good enough. And that was a priceless gift.
I was (I am!) a totally kickass, awesome Mother. I’ll never have a role that I fit so well, or one that I fill with such joy.
Thank-you, sweet kids, for always letting me know that I was good enough for you.
Now I’m hoping that some of that “good enough” will carry on into my Grandma years.