Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Gradually, you let them go

I've heard it said that the moment you give birth, you gradually begin to let go of your child. One of those steps in the process happened today. We dropped Nikki and Julie off at sleepover camp for the first time (along with their cousin and friend). For three whole nights, they will live independently of any of the grown-ups who are normally attached to them (yes, there are other grown-ups at camp, but not THEIR grown-ups).

It's with mixed feelings that you let them go. You want them to become independent. You want them to try new things and not rely on you for their security all the time. You want them to begin to experience life on their own and to trust their own intuition and choices more and more. But at the same time, you're not quite sure you're ready for them to need you less. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. Every time the phone rings, a tiny part of you wonders "is it them? are they calling to say they're just too scared to be away?"

I know they'll be fine. They're smart and strong and independent. But I have to admit, this is a little tough, this letting go stuff. I miss them. I feel a bit of a lump in my throat.

Funny thing is, as long as I've had kids, I've had to travel for work, and, though I know it sounds a little callous, I hardly miss my kids when I'm away. I enjoy the chance to travel and I'm usually too busy to get lonesome. But now that THEY'RE the ones away and I'm at home, I miss them more than I'd expect.

Yeesh! If I'm this much of a sap already, how hard will it be to deal with an empty nest? I may need to come to some of you more seasoned parents for advice.


Jo said...

I'm going to need advice too. Can I call you? :)

Anonymous said...

what I want to know is - did you take a PICTURE!

Anvilcloud said...

The empty nest is wonderful. There is a time and season for everything, including peace and quiet after child-rearing. That being said, it was very emotional and tough to see the first one leave for university. Let's just say that I lost my composure a wee bit. It was almost as tough as the day she came home for an undetermined interval. Let's just say that I lost my composure a bit -- just kidding.

Cuppa said...

I second what Anvilcloud said. The empty nest is wonderful, but oh the hurt of that initial step away and those first few empty days. You know that they will be back to visit, but will not be under your roof in the same way every again and that tearing away hurts like crazy.
I sure got used to this "season" in a hurry though, and just love it.

Linda said...

The moment these children are born, they grab your heart and their lives become intertwined with yours. Sometimes it's hard to know what part of "you" is "you" and what part of "you" is "them." I think that's why it's so tough. I'm further along in my parenting journey than you Heather-my empty nest will likely be here within 3-5 years. Today, I'm not ready for it. The comments from Anvilcloud and Cuppa keep me hopeful.