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.

Me, doing my favorite job.

Me, doing my favorite job.

16 thoughts on “Enough

  1. Beautiful post. My eldest is leaving home to live interstate on the 23rd of this month. She’s excited. I’m excited for her. We’re getting ready, packing, sorting everything out. I’m busy. I’m smiling. I’m not thinking about what it really means until she’s gone and I have to look at her empty bed. Then I can curl up and bawl …


    • My best advice, for what its worth, is to let yourself do just that. There’s peace out there on the other side of those Mommy years, but it might take a while to get there. Hang on tight to her now!!


  2. I have, through your blog, had the pleasure of reading the words you have chosen to put out into this world for some time now. This, lovely lady, is a very beautiful post. The saying, “when the student is ready the teacher will come” came into my mind as I read. I think throughout this process of your kids moving on in return they have taught you something very special.


    • So true, my friend! They have taught me so much, and they are still dong that. I guess its a good thing that we keep learning and growing and that we can still surprise ourselves a bit!


  3. Thank you, this post was a wonderful birthday gift (63 today). When I was just my son’s mom, I was very happy and felt that I too was “enough.” I went back to work when he was 12 because my husband insisted, not because I wanted to. I wanted to wait a few more years. My issue is not being kind or patient enough (although I know I’m not), but not being successful enough, not living up to that IQ test when I was 5, not living up to my education. When I was home with my son, I didn’t think or worry about that at all, I was just enjoying my time with him, knowing that the years would fly by. Now the whole “success” thing is mostly what keeps me up at night. I’m running out of time…


    • Oh, why do we do this to ourselves?! When I worked I worried that the kids were being shortchanged; why can’t we ever just know that we’re OK the way we are? Kind of makes me miss Marlo Thomas, get it? Remember that?
      Happy Birthday, my friend. Thought of you a lot yesterday: we learned about the battle at North Bridge.


  4. Being a mom is one of the best feelings on the planet. I too, found it difficult when my babies flew the nest & I continue to adjust to my new normal. What I have learned over the past couple of years is that no matter what time passes, our children continue to look to us for guidance, advise & support. I am only to happy to hear, “Mom, I need your advise” or “Mom, can I run something by you”. It never gets old & I am left with the feeling of , I think I did something incredibly right!


  5. I always enjoy your insight as a mother who’s been through it since I still have two in the nest. It’s a tough, tough thing to feel like your identity revolves around your family. I can really identify with that, enough. I’ve so enjoyed reading about your transformation, not because your pain has been entertaining, but because you really know how to put those feelings into words, those fears I already have. You’ve been very inspiring!


    • Wow, thank you so much!
      I love your use of the word “transformation”, because that is exactly how it feels.
      I remember worrying that my sense of myself was too tied to motherhood; now I miss that sense of surety.
      Enjoy your still full nest!


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