Reflections from my Empty Nest
On Mother’s Day
Mother’s day is different, somehow, when your nest is empty. Gone are the days of handmade cards with little handprints on them, or weeds picked fresh from the yard. Gone is that feeling of happy exhaustion as you try to grab a moment to celebrate, or sloppy wet kisses on the cheek. In place of those things are times of quiet reflection and the realization that, although in a completely different stage of parenting, you are still the mother of your children.
I have never been one to dwell on the past. Learn from it, yes; but not to linger there. But for some reason, Mother’s Day gives me pause to reflect on the years that we raised our boys in our home, and to take stock of what it means to “parent” adult children. There are things that I want my boys to understand about this season of life, and how loved they continue to be – no matter how old they are or how far they’ve flown.
It is with some confusion that I find myself desperately needing to know that they are okay. That they are fiercely independent. That they are enjoying life and living it to the fullest. Yet tucked away in the back of my heart is a desire to know that they still need their Momma sometimes. That the sound of my voice or a hug around the neck might still bring them comfort in a scary world.
I want to know that we were able to instill in them the qualities that they need to be the very best form of themselves possible. That they treat others as they want to be treated. That they cling to their faith in God. That they love others and cherish relationships. That they have a strong work ethic and respect their co-workers and clients.
I am thrilled that our boys have brought such wonderful women into our lives. Daughters-in-law that we can love on and share life with. Women who are – or will someday- parenting our grandbabies. And I hope that we have shown them what a strong marriage is like through our example. That we’ve taught them to hang tough in the difficult times and to never give up on the ones we love.
I want them to know that, although I might not embrace every choice that they make, I will always respect their right to make those decisions. I will always embrace them and love them, no matter what happens. Our door is always open and the coffee pot is always on. And we will drop whatever is in our way to help them when they need it. That they are being prayed for every single day.
After 33 years of parenting experience, I still don’t have all the answers. I’m not sure when to offer advice or when to exercise restraint. When to encourage my boys to stay in touch, or when to simply wait until they have a chance to call. But this much I do know. Being their mother is one of the greatest privileges I could ever desire. Loving and raising them is the thing that I am most humbled and blessed by.
There is reason to celebrate Mother’s Day in every season of parenting; from beginning to end. Happy Mother’s Day to each of you, from my heart to yours.