Our Children are Our Gifts to the World…

Our Boys...We Raise Our Children not for Ourselves...
Our Boys…We Raise Our Children not for Ourselves…

As my husband and I returned from moving our youngest child into his own apartment, and once again settle into our new found freedom and quiet of the empty nest, I am struck by that familiar small sense of melancholy intermingled with pride and relief…

I’m often asked how it feels to have both of our sons “out on their own”, and if I’m being completely honest I think to myself that although they are both living hundreds of miles from our family home, they have not yet fully left our nest…and are still very much “attached” so to speak…

We probably speak to our children now more so than when they were moody teenagers, or those younger on the go boys who barely had time for more than a quick “I’m fine Mom….can I go out and play now”.

Not that we weren’t engaged parents, we were and continue to be so…but trying to carry on a dialogue with male children is like trying to get a Chihuahua to not shake when it’s nervously barking….

But then a miraculous thing occurs, they go out into the world on their own, learning to navigate and being obligated to respond with more than just a guttural “yep” or sigh, they begin this process of metamorphosis and we as parents realize with awe and relief that what we knew all along to be true, is validated….they were listening and absorbing our words, our lessons, our concerns, our ideals, our love and our guidance.

And so, saying goodbye to the child we so tenderly nurtured, protected and guided brings a twinge of worrisome motherly fear into our hearts….every fiber of our being wanting to reach out and hold tightly that little child who tried our patience and ruled our hearts with their giggles, cries and love….

…But as parents our primary duty is to raise our children not for ourselves, but for the world….

So we give them a big hug, tell them how much we love them, how proud we are of their accomplishments and we secretly find joy and relief in knowing that we will build a more complete relationship with them, one in which they will freely share their thoughts with us and communicate on a more mature level, actually seeking out our advice and repeating our little nuggets of wisdom…

It’s a midweek evening, my husband and I have just settled down to watch a movie, his cell phone rings…it’s one of our sons, he speaks to his dad for several minutes and then asks if I’m available…we discuss exactly what he just spoke about with his father, and then I ask about his day….

So much for our movie night, it’s gotten too late to start watching it…

Yes, we are empty nesters, but our nest will never truly be empty because having raised our children not for ourselves, but for the world, has given them a sense of belonging and home….

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