Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

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33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shelly
    Jan 27, 2014 @ 23:59:15

    It was a mistake or shall I recall a surpise that I came across your blog. Your poems and stories seem to tell the my life story. I became a mother at 18 Im now 36. My nest is now sadly to say empty and lonely. Im here with my own thoughts, regrets and some guilt. I went from beings a kid….to being a mom….then wife….then mom again to baby #2…..the divorce mom of two with split family my daughter lived with her dad and my son with me….remarried and very messy divorce which caused an unwanted move and my son moving with his father. Within a month i lost it all my life, my family, job and home all because of a selfish person who had dual personalities. It has taken me 3 years but Im finally in a home of my own again but I miss being a mom so much I feel as though my heart has been ripped out of my chest. Since I was barely a week into being 18 I have been a mom and now I feel like I have lost myself because my entire role in life is gone. I literally dont know who Iam anymore. Thank you for your stores they are helping me to get a grip on myself so I can find Shelly.

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Jan 28, 2014 @ 06:12:07

      Shelley
      I am so glad you found my blog and took the time to write. Thank you♡
      I remember when I heard about empty nests and before it happened to me, It all seemed a little cliche. But soon found out it is very real!
      I scored places to find others going through the same thing. It feels good to find people who understand!
      I just walked in the door from spending the weekend at my daughter’s and we had soooo much fun! It was hard to leave her :-(
      But we have the BEST time together. I promise you will survive. THIS is just the second chapter for you and I never thought I’d say this, but it can be an exciting time. I promise it will be ok♡

      Reply

  2. lifeofaministermom
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 14:16:44

    This is the sweetest tribute to your son. Oh I know I have so much to learn from you! It’s crazy that even today I think about such things, and my daughter is only 18 months! LOL! Not that I dwell on it in a bad way or anything, but just that constant realization that once you have kids, they just keep growing! ;)

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 12:59:12

      I think we have a lot to learn from each other! I love that I get to tag along and experience the magic that you are as a new mom. I think that you really GET it. I am not sure I did. I know by the time my daughter came along I was less clueless but you really seem to appreciate every moment in a Godly way that is like cementing the whole foundation. It is hard to explain when you get to watch someone annointed living their life!
      xoxo ;)

      Reply

      • lifeofaministermom
        Sep 17, 2013 @ 16:10:33

        Awww Diane!! Your words always put the biggest smile on my face! You are so encouraging and as I go thru this mommy journey, I truly feel like I have a friend, a mentor and an ally in you!! My Alex just hit 18months, and she blows my mind every day!! I feel so blessed to be her mommy!! :)

        Reply

  3. catnipoflife
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 18:47:11

    Diane, what a wonderful post and loving tribute to your son! If you did not visit catnip on Jul 17, you might enjoy her post Empty Nest. A little different perspective…

    Reply

  4. jimgramze
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 13:39:09

    It seems that you have given your son a very special gift, the notion that he can have his own business. So many of us — me included — don’t see making a living as anything more or less than working for someone else. But you did something different, you had your own business and that model and mindset opens worlds of opportunity where otherwise there sometimes is none. I cannot stress enough how huge that is.

    I’m wondering about the whole “Jack in the Box” thing really went down. I’m imagining your son falling into a period of being irresponsible and his dad showing him that it isn’t going to be tolerated. Something like that. I do also understand the need to send the care packages.

    We know a kid that joined the Army and landed in Afghanistan. Just someone we had met online when he was an absolute brat in high school that we “adopted” as a wayward son. While in that harsh environment he missed his favorite candy treats most of all. Once a month while he was there we send him a care package of things he particularly missed along with some of my own favorites just for variety, telling him if there’s anything he didn’t like to just give to someone else who needs a reminder of home.

    You reminded me of that and I thought I’d share.

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Sep 02, 2013 @ 15:03:52

      Jim,
      Sometimes I think that the kidless parents have the most kids! There was a couple who lived across the street from Randy and I who were the best surrogate parents around. Fred taught Chad to swim in our pool when he was six etc.. Love your care package story. What a great gift you gave to him… not just in your Care Packages but in your connection!
      You are right about the Jack N Box story. As I wrote about in my post, I knew that there was more to the story. I just thought it was immature of the guy to blatantly leave my kid out. Especially since the man was more our parents age back then. He was this crotchety old guy but you are right and I totally see what probably happened. My son has never been shy about stating the facts… or at least how he sees them and believe me… his facts are usually not the way most of us might view them! ;) I am sure he ticked the guy off and they probably butted heads there on out. Why buy JacK in the Box for a punk kid who disrespects you? I GET that… But it was my son and it was Randy’s son and I am not sure how he could have eaten the food in front of him and enjoy it. Ya know? Maybe he didn’t enjoy it. Maybe he was just making a point. Maybe he didn’t know what else to do. If he split the food it would be a weird situation. I guess I am just glad that I’m not always a fly on the wall whenever my grown son is in an uncomfortable situation! LOL. It’s all about letting go.

      Reply

  5. viveka
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 10:17:06

    What a wonderful tribune to your son … boys are boys .. in what ever age they maybe in. A fantastic post, Diane. I can image it’s hard to let go .. don’t have any children by my own choice and to be a parent must be the hardest work there is … and we have to figure out everything as we go along. No instructions books or licence for be a parent.

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 25, 2013 @ 17:34:10

      Viv…
      I was pretty young when I had him. My daughter came along when I was in a different place. My daughter GETS me. My son has kind of missed the point of who I really am. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and he has a list. I pray that someday we can be good friends without either one of us feeling judged.
      I am not sure how to really get to that point but I hope to someday. I know there is love on both of our parts… Perhaps letting go is more than just about empty nests. Hmmmm.

      Reply

  6. Anka
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 02:54:16

    Oh, Diane, the pang I would’ve felt knowing my child didn’t get food while everyone else did. A mother’s heart cannot withstand such injustices, even if it is on a small scale. I know your ex didn’t endorse your care packages, but I applaud you for showing your son how much you cared about his well-being.

    It’s like the mama bear came out. Only she was clothed in elegance and grace as she tried to feed her cub!

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 22, 2013 @ 13:46:25

      Anka,
      You totally know me! It was tough! You nailed the Mama Bear title! It was crazy hearing about that Jack In The Box story! Though as I said, I am sure there was more to it! Though from a Mother’s perspective… I could not understand my ex’s father’s heart at that point in the game. I know it was tough love and maybe it was just as hard for him.. maybe not. Who knows…One of the minor reasons why we split… (there were bigger one… longer story, another time) Ya never knew what he was really feeling!
      It is kind of funny how I always have such empathy this time of year for those moms just letting go… whether it is the first day of Pre-school, Kindergarten, Junior High, High School or College! I’ve been through every feeling and they all have their own memories and the same place where the tears came from. But I also know that it is all part of the process and I just thank The Lord that my kids were able to “walk” into their own lives because some moms would love for their kids to be able to do that! (We sometimes forget how blessed we are to have kids that are actually able to leave us and make their own lives!) I always have to remind myself that my pain is bittersweet and I am very blessed!
      Thank you for reading Anka! You are always one of my fav comments and writers as well!
      I’ve been kind of hit and miss here lately… As I am actually running off to work right now! ;)
      xoxo
      Di

      Reply

  7. Main Street Musings Blog
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 12:20:01

    I can so relate. We’ve just sent our daughter off to college. Time to let go and give her some distance, yet it’s especially challenging these days with the temptation of texting!

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 20, 2013 @ 13:50:37

      Oh do I know what you mean! I made my poor daughter text me the first 3 years – that she was home safe! Just one word was all i asked…
      Though she was sweet and usually said:
      “Home safe mama… I love you.”
      (I think she had it as automatic ;-) )

      Reply

  8. DebbyGies (D.G.Kaye)
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 14:46:05

    Oh my beautiful writer friend; you sure know how to reach to the bottom of one’s heart! :)

    Reply

  9. Vashti Quiroz-Vega
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 05:38:09

    Hello Diane! What a touching post. My sister is going through this right now and I can’t wait to show her your post. I’m sure she’ll love it as much as I do. :D Have a great week.

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 19, 2013 @ 05:46:16

      Vashti! Two wonderful comment in a row! Thank you for sharing! What a compliment! And hugs sent for your sister… time is a great healer! You still miss them but your life changes and everything is relative. Just like Chapter One is different than Chapter two but both have great stories! ;)

      Reply

  10. parrillaturi
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 05:21:12

    I don’t have any children, but do relate, with respect to my mom. Growing up in a minister’s home, was not that easy, but we were a very close knit family. I left home when I was 18. My mom put up a brave front, but I could see through that facade. Reading your post, makes me realize, how much she must have hurt. My dad also. They are both gone now, but I can still hear my mom, asking whether or not I’m doing OK. Thank you for opening my eyes. Blessings.

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 19, 2013 @ 05:41:57

      Parrillaturi
      Thank you for reading and really understanding. Your comment makes my efforts worth it all! When someone reads what you write and gets something out of it. That is our reward!
      Thank you my friend!
      xoxo

      Reply

  11. PapaBear
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 03:29:20

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Di. It’s never easy when they leave, is it?….even after they’ve been gone and just come to visit. Memories……….
    Hugs!

    Reply

  12. Yaz
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 19:34:52

    Lovely empty nest story that we all relate to Diane. And now its YOUR turn!

    Reply

  13. Unshakable Hope
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 17:21:34

    Great post and poem, Diane. We have the opposite situation; our once-empty nest is filling up again. First, my father-in-law died in May and my mother-in-law moved into our guest room. Second, our 21 year old daughter graduated from college two weeks ago and moved back in with us while she looks for a job. Third, Mary’s sister took early retirement from her job in San Francisco and will be moving in with us until she finds a place of her own. It’s funny, a few years ago we were talking about downsizing:-)

    Reply

  14. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 15:35:55

    This is so s.w.e.e.t and loving. It’s so hard to let go. Mother’s unite.
    Drat, brought me to tears.

    Reply

  15. kelihasablog
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 13:17:29

    Oh this reminds me so much of myself and my son! Being my first born and a very challenging child, teaching him life’s lessons was hard, but so rewarding. He also went to live with his dad, but a bit earlier (like 8th grade) so he could learn about “guy” things and how to handle them. After graduation he joined the Air Force & left for Texas, they just mailed back his clothes, he could have no phone calls etc. I think he got one 3 minute phone call allowed in 6 or 8 weeks. He managed though and so did I, but it was hard. (I’m an over protective mom too). He got married & now has a beautiful daughter, my grand-daughter, and has grown into an excellent young man. I’m so proud, as I know you are! but granted, it’s always hard to stand there and watch them leave, or in my daughter’s case… drive off leaving her at college where she knew No one and in another state. Blessings to you Dianne! I’m sure your son has some really special memories of you and how you raised him. You’ve done a great job I’m sure. :D

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Aug 18, 2013 @ 16:24:26

      (((((Keli)))) Hugs!
      The story of my daughter is another story entirely! I think that it hit me harder than I thought and I went on kind of a tailspin there for a while… but I am in recovery mode! Only praying that both my kid’s dreams come true and all their prayers are answered as I find my own ground and start writing chapter two of me!
      Thank you for reading and sharing! Missed ya tons!
      xoxo

      Reply

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