We left her behind in her new place. The place she will call home for the next four years. A place where she will lay her head every night. A place that may be unfamiliar now, but in time, will become familiar.
I was worried as all mothers do, about many things. Will she be homesick? Will she meet new friends right away? Will she like her roommates? Will she like college in general? Will she be safe?
Will she miss her parents so much that she cries herself to sleep? How about her dog? Will she miss him? Her bedroom?
These thoughts ran through my head on the drive home. These thoughts gave me anxiety throughout the evening, keeping me from a peaceful sleep.
And then it happened. It happened almost immediately. I started receiving pictures of her and her new friends. She was smiling, happy, carefree and worry free.
And my heart lost the heaviness it was feeling for the last 24 hours. Then it got even better.
I received this text from her: “I’m not homesick at all! I’m having the best time!”
I took a deep breath. The first deep breath in hours.
I shrugged my shoulders, said to myself that our job was done, and welcomed our new status with open arms.
And I’m gonna be honest…
BEING AN EMPTY NESTER IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!
DH and I are getting to know each other again. The couple we were before our child. Before the stress and worry of raising a person.
We can run around the house naked if we want. And I do. DH doesn’t because he thinks the neighbors can see. But I say, it serves them right for looking in our window. One look at me running around naked in my present physical condition, and they will learn their lesson. They will learn a big lesson. And fast.
S-E-X (it does sound less naughty when you spell it out, doesn’t it?) somehow got better. Before we would plan it out, triple-dead lock our door, spend twenty minutes hanging up sound proofing material (I caught my parents a couple of times when I was a kid, and believe me it is nothing you can ever unsee).
During it all with one ear open to hear if The Kid got up to go to the bathroom or was yelling out for one of us. By the time we got down to it, the mood had usually passed. (I’m joking about the sound proofing, but I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it at the time.)
Hmm, let’s see…what else?
Dinners are less of a hassle because I don’t feel the need to have to actually cook a nutritious meal for my kid every night. Her room stays clean. And there aren’t thirty-two pairs of shoes at the back door by Thursday.
I can take my bra off at the end of the day or not wear one at all if I’m hanging around the house on the weekend without hearing these words, “mom, my friends are coming over.”
There is nothing worse than putting those babies back in the cage. I have apologized to my breasts more times than I care to admit. There should be a law about how many hours we are allowed keep the girls bound up each day. But I digress.
We can just get up and go and do what we want when we want without worrying what The Kid wants to do or is doing. We see friends more often. Laugh more often. Spend more quality time together.
Do I look forward to seeing her next month at Parent’s Weekend? You betcha. Am I looking forward to spending almost a month with her when she comes home for winter break? Hells yeah. Do I miss her? Very much so.
Do I look forward to her emptying the dishwasher because I dislike that chore more than scrubbing the toilet? Can I get a ‘HECK YA!!!”
Do I love being her mom and cherish the last eighteen years? Without a doubt. I wouldn’t change a thing.
But it was time. It was time for her. And it was time for us.
Children are only meant to be with us for a short period of time. They are not meant for us to keep.
We are here to teach them how to grow into respectable, functioning adults. To be able to contribute to society. To be well-adjusted people who can raise some kids of their own.
It’s her time to be independent. It’s our time to be ourselves again.
So, to all you parents who are raising kids and are wondering how you will do when your offspring fly the coop? It’s okay. You will be okay.
Welcome it, embrace it, love it. It’s freaking awesome. Except when you have to empty the dishwasher.