“I hate it when people say, ‘I can’t wait until the kids are gone and I can get my life back,’” says a friend. “To me being a parent is part of the definition of being an adult. And how bad for kids whose parents can’t wait to get rid of them.”
On Mother’s Day, especially, I’ve thought about no longer being a full-time mother. And the way in which society labels that. You are not called “a successful parent.” You are defined by what you no longer have. You are an: “empty nesters.”
No one ever says “full nesters.”
“That’s the prize for doing a great job,” says Linda. “You get fired.”
I always knew the girls would leave. Looked forward to that day, not so I could “start my life”, but because it would mean I’d done a good job. It was shocking when Jessamyn left us a year early, her senior year of high school, so she could finish in the same high school. And Ariel thinks her presence kept her father and me together for a while longer. “I needed you so much you had to stay together.”
Don’t know about that. But I do know that I’m happy I was able to stay home and take care of my girls when they were little. I’m happy we navigated the shoals of adolescence. I’m happy I had them young enough so I’ve still got my wits about me and plenty of energy.
Empty nest. Full heart.