Saturday, October 2, 2010

Empty Nest

Yesterday my daughter moved into her own apartment. What a surreal day! I was surprised to discover how difficult this life event would be for me to handle, and how completely unprepared I was for this day to come.

For twenty years I was in active-mommy-mode. And now ..... I am no longer the one in control. I am no longer the one cooking her meals. In fact, I never have to cook again. I know this sounds like a good thing ... however, when you've been doing the same thing - every day ... for twenty years ... how do you suddenly stop? And more importantly, who will be doing everything I use to do?

How will I know if she is eating? How will I know if she gets home safely at 4am? How will I know that she hasn't fallen asleep with the stove on? Who will give her medications when she gets sick?

As the truck pulled away from my home and I went into her empty room - becoming enveloped by the thunderous echo within the empty space - I was taken aback by my physical reaction to this change. I found myself actually twitching. My arms never felt so empty. My breaths quickened in attempts to catch a racing heartbeat.

Suddenly it occurred to me. "She's not three anymore - and she's off starting her life."

I am very proud of my daughter. She is sweet, sensitive, caring, smart, and eager to launch her life. But she will always be my 10 month old, brown eyed baby girl who use to giggle up at me when I would ask ... "Are you going to walk for mommy today?"

I have always heard about mothers who experience the 'empty nest syndrome' ... and I would think to myself - "Are they crazy??" The answer is simple. They are not crazy ... they are women who put their lives on hold in full dedication to their children. Their every waking moment was dedicated to the betterment of their son or daughter. And before they know it - they've completely taken themselves off of all priority lists.

I am guilty of this. I realize this now. I am 42 years old and oddly enough, even though my daughter and I are 21 years apart - we are broaching a similar event in our lives. We are both living on our own for the first time and trying to figure out what life has to offer.

The difference is ... my daughter is doing it the correct way. Moving out ... experiencing life ... then start a family. Whereas - I started as my mom's daughter and went straight to becoming my daughter's mother. I have never been on my own. I have never been "Lorrah" ... No titles ... No roles... Just ... Lorrah.

I actually have no idea who that person is. I have to say it is a bit scary. This is where my daughter is lucky. Life is scary for her as well. However, at 20 years old - it is exciting ... exhilarating... a series of unknowns, which you cannot wait to tackle. When you are 42 and just starting your 'single' life - scary is just scary.