For seventeen years all I have known is Motherhood.
From the moment my firstborn was placed on my chest in the hospital, every other thing in this world became less important, including myself. I fell into Motherhood with ease, I legitimately enjoyed every single minute of it. I am not saying it was easy—because there were days in which I felt lost, alone and terrified I was in charge of a little human being. Many. Many. Days.
Regardless, I loved/love being a Mom.
Before you judge me, I am not a Helicopter Mom, Unicorn Mom or whatever label we now place so easily on Mothers. I was and am simply a Mom who loves raising her kids. Moreover, I am lucky to have two amazing teenagers to show for it. Yes, I am patting myself on the parenting back. Something I think more of us need to do, besides we are performing the most important job on this planet. Raising children into respectful humans who are able to adult without our helping hand.
To leave the nest.
In that great big book of parenting (which none of us actually receives) no one warned me of the absolute fear I would have of letting go. The twist of panic and pride as my children found their way into adulthood. Their entrance into the world—without me.
Recently, my soon to be a seventeen-year-old son and I spoke of his future. He is in the middle of his eleventh year in high school and has made plans to attend University directly after graduating grade twelve. He informed me he would like to find an apartment or live in a dorm following his high school graduation.
That is when I realized (and by realized I mean had an anxiety attack and told him NO he can never move out), it won’t be long until both my kids are grown and gone.
For the last seventeen years being a Mom is all I have known. That is not to say I don’t consider myself a woman or person because I have children, only that being a Mom is what I do while being a woman and person. I appreciate I will always be their Mother, whether they are destroying my house or their first apartment, they will need me throughout their adult lives. Although, there is a harsh reality of isolation once they leave to navigate the world on their own.
No one, and I mean no one, tells you about the jarring moment you realize you merely have a few years before your kids leave the nest. The nest you so carefully provided with food, education, warmth, clothing, love, your heart. Your. Heart.
While I was in the midst of changing diapers, teaching proper hygiene and simply being a Mom, I overlooked the fact my babies would eventually leave me. Grow into adults and find their own way. Become the amazing adults I prepared them to be. It truly never dawned on me that one day, it would be me left alone to watch them navigate their lives.
Which places me here, today. I have a few years left before these two children I so carefully raised, leave my home and build their own lives.
In the next few years, I plan to simultaneously hold them tighter, while letting them go.
Nevertheless, the only way I know how to prepare myself for the empty nest is to effectively teach my children to be self-sufficient grown-ups. To give them the tools they require to live outside of my home, consequently, worrying less if they are eating properly or getting enough rest.
As we all know, there is no end to the love we put into our children and it doesn’t stop once they leave our home.
I don’t think any parent can properly prepare for an empty nest. No matter what is done to plan, there will come a time you notice the house is a little quieter, the walls a little cleaner, two messy bedrooms now clean and waiting for those babies of yours to always call home.
Within the next few years I will do every thing I can to prepare myself for a quieter home, but mainly I will prepare my children for the transition, not myself. For it wasn’t me I was raising to take on the world, it has always been them.
Author: Darla Halyk
Darla Halyk is the Mom of a teenage boy and girl. Proudly Canadian she was born and raised in Langley, British Columbia where she still resides today. She has a Master’s Degree in Verbal Irony with a major in Sarcasm. Currently working on a book, she also writes for her blog at New World Moms regarding whatever comes to her mind. Her ability to write raw, real and honestly has featured her on The Elephant Journal, Scary Mommy, Your Tango, BLUNTmoms, HuffPo, BlogHer and more. She writes because she loves words, and she loves words because they can change the world.