My son, who has been in the Marine Corps for the last four years, is FINALLY home for a visit! Because he was first stationed in Japan and then more recently in California, this is the first time I have seen him in three whole years!
The past few weeks I have been seeing friends send their kids off to college and I feel for them. My nest is not empty yet, but watching any of your kids leave home is difficult. I had my son young, so when I was going through that “empty nest” transition myself, most of my friends couldn’t relate and no one warned me about the storm I was about to walk through.
I think it was especially hard for me, because I was a single parent since the day he was born, and it felt like I was losing my partner in life. We had been through so much together as a united duo. My husband came into our lives just as my son had pulled away from our tight bond because of his age/adolescence. We were still close, but there was a divide, a need for him to stand alone. I felt that loss, but I had expected it and of course, he was still with me every day and we still had our great conversations.
But when he left for bootcamp, I was completely distraught. I grappled with my identity. I became consumed with the things I didn’t say or did wrong as a parent. It felt like my time was up, that I was no longer needed in his life. It didn’t help that I was right in the thick of fibromyalgia and anxiety taking over my life.
The experience was the hardest bit of being a parent I’ve been through and it fundamentally changed me. In hindsight, I think that storm taught me how to be a more vulnerable mother, something I never allowed myself to do as a single parent. And of course I was wrong, I am still a person he reaches out to when he needs advice or perspective or to unload his feelings about life. Mothering didn’t end when he left, it was just reshaped. ❤
The last few days have been like a dream, lots of deep, wonderful conversation, laughter and reminiscing. I never realized how comforting it is to have all of the people you love the most in the world, under the same roof at night.
I hope you all have a great week! 🙂