Empty Nest

At the end of my street is a bald eagle nest. The babies hatched this spring have learned to fly a few weeks ago and have now left the nest. We might see them around occasionally during the rest of the summer, but they’re more or less gone. This is the third year we’ve had eagle babies. This is the third year we’ve gone out to the nest and watched new hatchlings grow and leave mom and dad.

The nest is now empty.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.

My daughter just turned twenty. She’ll be moving out in September to attend a prestigious university on the coast of Southern California. I am over the moon proud of her.

I have kept a safe and sound nest for my birdies. They have learned how to fly.

I’ve prepared my children to be adults. They have far exceeded my expectations. I am so proud. I think I said that already, but I am. I always will be.

I prepared my chicks but I didn’t think that I’d be so unprepared.

It isn’t as if I’m unprepared. It isn’t as if I don’t have anything to do. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog who needs ALL of my attention, elders to take care of (that is another story that breaks my heart), cats to heard, and a husband who is going through his own transitions.

It has been years since I have felt my heart breaking like this. I had no idea.

Yet, I am filled with joy and excitement because my kids are adults and they’re going to make all kinds of awful mistakes, and have wonderful adventures, and be amazing, and successful, and they’ll change the world for the better. I know for a fact that they’ll change the world for the better. When I think about that I am less likely to start crying.

When you have a baby you know that in 18 or 20 years that… your baby will be an adult.

But you know what? Your babies will always be your babies.

Having kids is the best thing, the hardest thing, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. At least it has been like that for me.

I finally found something I was good at. REALLY good at. Better than most at. The BEST at. And now I have to do something else that I can be the best at.

Just between us I’ll still be the best mom ever.

And if you’re reading this you can still be the best mom, or dad, ever too.

Just keep saying to yourself, “Don’t panic. They all grow up.”

You’ll be OK.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Don’t Panic… they grow up but that’s ok

 

Summer is in full force, which means the temperature is in the triple digits, the air is full of smoke from fires and everyone is trying to keep their wits about them. Sounds like Hell. It isn’t. It is Northern California and there is a drought so I expect it to be a long smoky summer.

This isn’t anything new.

What is new is that my 18 year old Garrett is getting ready for college. I don’t even want to say that. It is both exciting and scary. Exciting for him. Scary for me.

We’ve talked a lot, mostly just chatted about college and life outside of here, our house, our community.

Today we were sitting over herbal iced tea and the air conditioner turned up to full blast. Yes, we’re Vampires so you’d think we’d be under the house sleeping, but we don’t stick to traditional schedules. Besides it is summer. We’re just chilling.

I handed him a box.

He opened it carefully then started to laugh when he saw what was inside. It was a beach towel with the worlds “Don’t Panic” on it.

“There’s more in there.” I told him.

He picked up an object wrapped in white tissue paper.

“It’s your own copy.”

“I love you mom,” he said holding is own copy of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.”

I handed him another box. It was a copy of Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook. I know what you’re thinking. Vampires. Why a cookbook? Because sometimes we do make “real food.” We’re pretty creative about it. And the most important reason is that if you go to college and you can cook then it is to your advantage.

Everyone loves to come back to the dorm or apartment after a long day and find out your roomie has a hot bowl of soup waiting for you. A nice aromatic bowl of goodness to take away the stress of hours of studying, the brain numbing organic chemistry and biophysics lectures, the weird classmates and cold feet from walking miles and miles across campus because you have a flat tire on your bike.

Plus, if you can cook everyone else cleans up. Good deal.

Garrett will be sharing a dorm room with his friend Randy (also a Vampire) but they’ll eventually have roommates who are Regular Humans. It is good for them to live with those who are different (but keep the rule to NEVER prey on your roommates.) We talk a bit about that but mostly about a shopping list for Target to get a few much needed dorm room items. Even guys want their room to look good.

The calico cat rubbed against his leg and sang her her little meow song. Garrett picked her up and gave her a kiss on her head. “I’ll miss the cats. I will really miss the cats.”

I knew he would. We talked more about life and school. My words of wisdom were few – just don’t leave love notes and poetry around for others to find. He does that at home. The is especially important about anything that is turned in to a professor.

The rest of the time we just talked and laughed. And listened. Just listened to my sweet boy who had suddenly grown into a man.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm man of the future

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