The Almost Empty Nester: Change

Friday, September 5, 2014


I don't like change.

I like new things. New adventures. New ideas. And I'm open to a new way of doing things. I am. But when the status quo changes, I struggle. It takes me some time to adjust. And then I'm good. Really. I adapt pretty well - eventually.

But changes I didn't plan on, changes that happen without my approval or previous knowledge of tend to rub me the wrong way.

You see, I'm a planner. And when things don't go according to plan or the plan changes, I tend to have a hard time.

This includes my children growing up and becoming teenagers. I know. I know. This isn't something that should surprise me. They've changed every second of every day since the day they were born. But in these teen years, the changes seem to be coming...faster.

I love hanging out with my kids. So, although I'm not a warm weather person, I love summer for the one reason alone that I get to have my kids home. We swim in the pool, watch goofy TV, laugh at Pinterest and just chill. It's perfection.

Every fall I go through a period of mourning. People used to ask me if I was sad when I dropped them off at school because the kids were sad to leave me. I'd say, "No, I'm sad because I had to leave THEM. They blew me a kiss and told me to have a good day." They were fine. They were the independent, confident people I raised them to be. I, however, had lost my playmates for the day. Some well meaning people have suggested I homeschool. I truthfully tell them that although I admire the individuals who homeschool, I don't want my kids home to be their teacher. I want them home because I want to have fun with them.

I'm pretty sure you get the gist that I think my kids are awesome. Because, well, they are. I have a daughter, Girly (16), and twin boys, Thing 1 and Thing 2 (14). They are vibrant and funny and thoughtful and well...awesome.

But they are getting older and therefore I am now an Almost Empty Nester. Yes, I know. I have a few years left with them and I intend to soak up every minute of it. But I can feel already the band-aid being pulled off slowly and it hurts.

This is the first year my daughter is able to drive them all to school. As great as the extra time is in the morning for me, it is taking some getting used to. Two days ago I set an alarm for 6:30 a.m. thinking I'd have until 7 when they leave to chat with them over coffee. Before my alarm even went off I heard Girly say, "Bye, Mom! Love you." I bolted out of bed, half asleep and still in my nightgown and ran into the garage yelling, "Where are you going? You have to drive your brothers too!" I then opened my eyes enough to see Thing 1 and Thing 2 sitting in the car staring at me like I'd lost my ever loving mind. Probably because I had. Girly kindly reminded me that it was Tuesday and they go early on that day for Student Council and to get donuts together. (Yes, I love that they like each other enough to have a breakfast date each week together.) 

I blew them kisses and went inside. Hubby was waiting for me inside the door and gave me a "How ya doin' there Babe?" Code for, "Yes, you've lost your ever loving mind and I'll get the coffee going so we can talk about it."

Hubby and I talked over coffee and in his vast wisdom of being married to me for twenty years pointed out a list of changes happening in my life right now that maybe, just maybe I need to consider. And to give myself some grace. We talked about how when kids are born they need us 100% of the time. But as time goes by that changes to 90/10, 80/20, 70/30 and so on. You get the idea. Right now I feel like we are headed into 50/50 territory. And that's okay.


Because with 50/50 comes more freedom for me. More time with Hubby. More time to write. But it also means they need me less. And that's a tough pill to swallow for a mom. I realize my goal as a mom is for them to not need me. To be independent, self-sufficient, fully functioning adults. But when they are doing that, where does that leave me?

I think that's the question this Almost Empty Nester needs to answer. And I don't want to answer it as I wave at Girly as she's flying from the nest. I want to start figuring it out now. By the time the band-aid is off completely I want to be ready. Prepared. Why? Because I'm a planner and I don't like change.

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