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