Emotionally Approaching an Empty Nest: My Baby is not a Baby Anymore!
Not too long ago, I wrote about Approaching an Empty Nest and bragged about how much I was looking forward to it, about the plans my husband and I are making to move away when my daughter graduates from high school next year, about how proud I am of her and how I *might* shed a tear or two.
What silly babble!
And not too long ago, I completed the hubchallenge, writing not just 30 but 35 new hubs in thirty days. I completed the challenge with a public announcement of a new personal goal to publish five new hubs per week.
What silly babble!
Emotions wreck logic. Period. And mommy's are emotional creatures. Period.
I know, I'm babbling again. But my baby left for France Monday, and I haven't been right since.
It starts at birth. All you mom's know exactly what I mean and all you non-mom's are sick of hearing it. But that moment when you fall madly in love at first sight with your child is like no other. No romantic love ever compares. You get over it, at least for a minute or two here and there, like when they explore the refrigerator and dump all your new groceries on the kitchen floor, or when they learn to roll their eyes at you, but the flat-out LOVE slams you just as powerfully over and over again, year after year, when you least expect it. Like it did me Sunday night.
When my baby girl was really a baby - only three years old - I won a scholarship to travel in Great Britain. I don't know what even possessed me to apply for the thing. It was seriously one of those chance-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I never imagined would come my way.
I was an "old" senior in college - I'd mostly worked my way though part-time and was finishing my last year, as required, with full-time status, which qualified me to apply for the Francis L. Phillips Travel Scholarship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I was seriously contemplating how to take my daughter on the trip. The marriage between my daughter's father and me was unraveling, and our therapist advised us it would be one of the best gifts I could give, to both my daughter and her father, if I took this trip alone. It would give them a chance to bond without me "in the way". I would teach her that it was okay to be a strong, independent woman pursuing her dreams. And we would have a "trial separation" without the stigma of an actual separation.
So, a few days after her 3rd birthday, I boarded a plane and headed to England. And I cried and cried and cried. And I've never been so homesick in my entire life.
Oh, I managed to have an amazing trip. I know in hindsight it was the right thing to do - the therapist was right about the benefits for my daughter and her father, even if it didn't help the marriage much. But there were moments when I ached for my little girl so badly I thought I'd die.
And those were the moments I most often picked up my journals. And silly me, Sunday night, less than 24 hours before my daughter crossed that vast Atlantic Ocean for the first time, I picked up those journals again.
And I cried and cried and cried. And I couldn't sleep. So I just read more of the journals. And I thought about all of that silliness I'd written on hubpages, about approaching an empty nest.
To be clear, I try to be a positive thinker, so I have not really let "worry" into my thoughts. I'm not dwelling on things like airplane crashes or international child slavery or the fact that I'm so freaking broke that if there was an emergency I have no idea how I'd get to France to help my little girl. No, I'm not worried. Really, I'm not.
I'm just irrationally emotional.
I'm better today - better enough to finally get some of this stuff on paper (well, computer hard disk space...internet never-never-land...you know what I mean).
I'll make sure to link to this hub from the previous hub, and Mom's everywhere, take heart. You can prepare yourself all you want. You can use logic and make big plans and pat yourself on the back for what a fine job you did parenting your kids. But when they start stepping out on their own into the big, bad world, get ready for that insane, overwhelming, awe-inspiring, incapacitating, and inexplicable feeling of being hopelessly, helplessly, in love.
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