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Empty Nesters

As parents we start out in total bliss, blessed with a tiny baby completely dependent on us for food, drink, shelter, protection, love, comfort, cleanliness, safety etc. We help encourage and motivate them with tummy time, sitting, crawling, standing, walking. We’re not given the chance to say goodbye to the many phases they go through. We hop from one right into another. They start cooing, giggling and eventually start making words. We work with them teaching them all we can, we read to them, play with them, mold them, getting them ready for life, introducing them to new people, places, food. We send them off to school. Again never saying goodbye to that baby that relied on you for everything never grieving the last diaper you’ll ever change, the last time you spoon feed them, you never grieved the chains loosening, the distance independence brings. We just kept busy running from school, to birthday parties and sleepovers, cub scouts, football, dance recitals, wrestling tournaments, family functions. You try to teach them all you know, tell them all your stories, pray they will listen so they don’t have to learn the hard way, like you did. Before you know it your tiny 6lb 9oz little girl is a grown woman driving, working, graduating school or your little baby boy is packing his bags moving out of state to chase his dreams. Your grievance is earth shattering, you're grieving all the many phases, the sleepless baby, the headstrong toddler, the rambunctious kid, the energetic preteen, the wild teenager and now the adult about to spread his wings and fly, you grieve all of their many faces all at once. Your roll as mommy has changed no more washing dirty cleats or packing lunch. Dads lost their hunting buddy and have no one to play catch with in the evenings. Your schedule is bare and you have time on your hands. You feel empty, lost, alone. You’re scared of all the what ifs, did you teach them all they needed to know, will they pay attention to their surroundings and protect themself. Did I screw them up, do they know how much I really love them, do they know they can always count on me and the door is always open. What if they leave and never look back. Who and what am I now without my babies?

As parents we put our values and worth in ourself on how we parent, all the duties, responsibilities and obligations. We deem ourself good if we’re doing. What happens when our time comes that we’re not doing anymore, when our kids don’t depend on us any longer. We grieve, we cry, we grab for anything we can get but eventually we just have faith they know what they need and want in life. We trust they are strong and smart and can handle what life throws them, we know they know we love them and they will call if they are ever in a tight spot and need our support. We pray, have faith and let go of the rein. We allow them to make the life they want and cheer them on along the way. We began to find ourself again we go on walks when we would of normally been at football games, we have weekend trips that don’t include wrestling mats, buzzers, or thousands of people, we go on dates with our spouse again table of two! We start to paint, write or dance again. We find our worth elsewhere. We simply evolve into this next phase.

Being a empty nester is hard but has always been in the decks, deep down we always knew this time would come, it’s been the goal all along so pat yourself on the back mama you did it you raised one hell of a young man, daddy your little girl is a strong independent woman now. It’s their time to spread their wings and fly.

This chapter is hard don’t hold it in, it’s ok to be sad, to cry, to feel your feelings but please don’t forget to celebrate all these accomplishments and achievements you all together have done. It’s bittersweet I know but they will be just fine, you’ve got to have faith. This is just another beautiful phase

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