Monday, September 5, 2016
#MicroblogMondays: Back to school/empty nest rant
I am bracing myself for tomorrow's flood of back-to-school photos & posts & "OMG they're growing up so fast" posts.
Yesterday, dh's cousin's wife -- pregnant at the same time I was -- chronicled in words & photos on Facebook how they took their oldest son to university, a few hours away, and helped him set up his dorm room -- and then left him there. Reminisced about watching him take his first steps, mourned that she couldn't believe he was all grown up and leaving home. Comments along the lines of "you done good, Mom," and "be strong!" had me wincing.
Once more, I'm left with the thoughts, the pain, the (yes) downright envy:
At least you got to watch him grow up.
I've missed an entire lifetime of moments with my daughter that other parents get to take for granted,.
(It might not be easy -- but they knew this day was coming, right?)
I'm sure it takes strength to raise a child to adulthood and then watch them spread their wings and fly away to live their own, independent life. To face that empty nest, after years of building your entire life around your kids and their activities.
But it also takes strength to give birth to a much-wanted child that will never take a breath -- and then live with all the woulda/shoulda/coulda beens for the rest of your life. Or to live without the children you wanted so very much and once assumed would be yours (just like so many other parents do), and try to find other ways to give your life purpose and meaning. To realize that your own carefully constructed nest will never be full, will always be empty.
I just wish more people understood that, recognized that, empathized with that. I am sure nobody, outside the ALI community, realizes what an emotional minefield this time of year is for me and women like me. I would rank it not far below Mother's Day in terms of emotional impact, for me at least.
I remember my own first days at university so well. It was the moment I'd waited for all through my teenaged years, and it was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. I still think of university as the best time of my life.
I wish I knew what university my daughter would have been attending. What she'd be studying, where she'd be living. I wish I could be sharing in her excitement.
I know I write this same post at this time every year, and I must sound like a broken record sometimes.
But it sucks. It absolutely, completely sucks. :(
Rant over. (For now. ;) )
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.