For a number of years, I’ve been following a website which is especially for parents with kids leaving home called, Grown and Flown. It’s been fun and informative to find the moms (some dads) talking about all the feelings surrounding kids jumping ship to paddle off to the wide, wide world. Of course, I was a captive audience – I mean really, I wrote a book about that very topic – Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest. My kids matured while I wrote, and then published, my family’s experiences of our four young adults moving away from the nest through various winding paths of education, travel, and simply growing up. Yet, at this time of year I’m still able to relate to the Grown and Flown parents talk of young adults coming home for the holidays and turning the house upside down with the chaotic energy my husband and I loved and (usually) miss. Still, I told myself, I’m well passed that now. I’ve adapted to the house filling with noise and hungry people and shoes and friends and laughter and shouting – for a busy week, and then going quiet again.
But our youngest, Lily, recently came home for a much longer time – almost six months. Lily house-sat for us in the summer while working here, and then stayed on, establishing roots again and managing contracts with her photography business. Lily has based herself from home now and again, but she is a traveler and not ready to stay put, yet every time that she returns – a little bit older and wiser – our sharing this house gets better and better. (Lily is an organized and tidy offspring – she keeps me in-check when things get messy.) She does a great deal of photo editing in the quiet of an upstairs office, and being a twenty-something still keeps the midnight oil burning into the wee hours – so her presence has been charmingly easy, far past teenage parties and silly spats.
Two days ago our Lily left again. I knew it was coming – another departure of a ‘kid’ from home. I haven’t shed tears, but I have sought out friends, and talked aloud to myself, and sat alone in the living room for too long missing … just missing her. Her dad agrees that it’s funny how you get used to sharing the house, and being part of their life in a bigger way for a while. Lily drove to her Vancouver destination – six hundred miles away – on winter roads, and after her first nervous report of road conditions far worse than she was used to, I had her text me as she made her way through the mountains. She called the first evening feeling shattered by traveling through sleet, snow and speeding drivers on a moonless night. She promised to complete the journey in daylight and the next day I went about my business slower than usual, in a bit of a distracted way, listening for the ding ding of her text as she traveled in and out of cell zones and even more miserable weather. I texted her instructions that she already knew, “Keep your wipers clear of ice, replenish the washer fluid, remember there’s no gas station or anything much from Merritt to Hope.” She wasn’t bothered by my nagging, rather seemed to need to keep connecting. As for myself, I couldn’t concentrate on anything until finally she text to say, “It’s okay now, Mom, I’m here.”I sat again in the quiet living room, slowly let my breath out and sent the other three a message, “Just Text Me, Love Mom”.
To read Text Me, Love Mom – the book – go to: http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712/