Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nest. Empty. Peculiar.

My two college students have both just ended their month-long Winter break.  In some ways it felt VERY long, and in other ways it felt quite short.

Lately their departures leave me with this odd feeling. It's a peculiar feeling of regret and relief.  Relief because our life settles back into its quiet, normal pace again.  (Tell me I'm not the only one worries all the time that they go out and who doesn't sleep well until everyone is back in the house and settled into their beds) And relief because I have so much less work to do when they're not here.

But there's that feeling of regret, too.  I mean, I love them and I raised them to be independent young people.  But I feel a twinge of regret because, when they're here, there are times that I feel appreciated and needed.  I relished that part of being a mom, and as they get older I feel it less and less.  And regret because there are times during their breaks that I get a little bitchy and I know I could be nicer.  Nobody's perfect, and there were times that they actually deserved smacks in the head, but still....I could let more things roll off my back.  And I feel regret because both of my kids can be so darn entertaining, and I miss the laughs we have when they're not here. 

What sometimes surprises me is that I get that same feeling when I visit with my mother.  That feeling of regret and relief.  I wonder if she feels it, too. 

Enough soul searching.  I'm off to stitch.  That little snowman is still waiting for me!

15 comments:

  1. Why is there never that perfect balance? EVER.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can appreciate the feeling. I guess its normal. I agree with Queen Bee though - where's the balance?

    At least there is more time to stitch!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh gosh, I got a bit teary with this post. It's true. That's just the bittersweet of life I suppose!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have one in college..she is now a senior but when she leaves a get that sick feeling that our time together was so short and she will probably never live here again...it makes me weepy and sick feeling. I miss when my children were small and played dress up and left their toys all over the house...if we could only go back. Dianntha

    ReplyDelete
  5. When my sister lived here, I'd wait up for her til the wee hours and she was in her 30s!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think those feelings are just inevitable. With children, it is either feast or famine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I totally understand your feelings, Lee. The last time Steven left I sat at the window seat with tears forming in my eyes. Tim came in and saw me and said, "I know it's sad, but it's for the best." And he's right...my life doesn't revolve around worrying about him out at night or wondering whether he'll be home for dinner when he's gone. There is definitely more "me" time which translates to more "stitch" time. And I honestly don't worry about him when he is away at college--out of sight, out of mind!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can absolutely relate to your feelings. Mine are 27 and 30. A couple of days after Christmas, I had enough and told them both it was time to go home. I regretted it immediately, but it was awfully peaceful when they left!
    I now understand my in-laws tears (of joy) when the four of us drove away after a weeklong visit!
    Susan in CA

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds perfectly normal to me!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, motherhood. I guess we'll have those mixed feelings forever, but I agree with Carol - when he's not living here, I don't worry nearly so much about him. I abide by that old adage, no news is good news. We certainly get along better and appreciate each other more!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. No, you are certainly NOT the only one! As others have noted - college trains us in the skill of letting go, but even later (30 and 24, not counting the oldest one with his own family), it's hard.
    When my kids are staying with us at Christmas I do worry and stay up until they are back home and I really like the nights that they stay over with friends - back to the out of sight out of mind.
    No guilt about the relief part - we all deserve the life we've built for ourselves.

    Mary in MN

    ReplyDelete
  12. My elder son is 20 and in his 3rd year of university. Our younger son is 17 and in his last year of high school. He'll be off to university in the fall. At least I've gotten used to not having them around. For many years, they've spent several weeks staying with my parents, doing sailing summer camp (or in the case of my older son, teaching at it for two years). So they were gone for that period of time each summer.

    As for balance, I'm not sure anyone ever really reaches it! The goal is to come close. I'm not there yet.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm sure Mom's everywhere can relate to what you just posted.

    Don't worry, kids always need their Mommies. :)

    ReplyDelete