Children grow up become adults and they leave home. I am proud and happy for mine, launching, world their oyster, potential unlimited. Leaving is an imperative growth and developmental milestone for independence.
I did cry the first day my children went to kindergarten, little ticket on a string around their neck designating the way home. I cried privately, after dropping them off in the classroom, usually in the car- I saw lots of other parents doing the same thing. I knew deep in my heart it was a process that would begin the hurtle across space and time eventually ending with them separate from our nucleus; building lives and homes of their own. The first day of school is such a poignant moment for most parents.
My husband and I are happy empty nesters, we have looked forward to the time when we would just be the two of us again. We are not carefree but we are retired. We are playing, exploring and rediscovering who we are as a couple now that we are in our 60's and less distracted by work and child rearing responsibilities. We both always wanted to be parents, we feel blessed to have had our own family. We are soul mates and lovers who got to parent, we walked the line between maintaining intimacy as a couple and being earthly guardians of two incredible beings. Sometimes we did good, sometimes meh and sometimes yikes!..please forgive us our foibles!
The relationships between us and our children have changed, their competence and confidence brings my husband and I in more of collegial, advisory or counsel role (when asked) with parental benefits- I am deeply enamored with the lovely people they have become and find their presence a breath of fresh air, my skin tingles with their energy and I get invigorated. When they are home with us at this time in our family life, it is deliciously familiar, but better because of the role change, better because they too are on their own. We love their partners, we love how our family has grown and will continue to grow.
Over the past two weeks, we had the special and rare circumstance: both daughters came home at the same time, each without partner, alone, temporarily, for good reasons, happy reasons. Kind of a slumber party for my daughters who shared a room and talked til wee hours. It was fun to hear the murmur again, to pop in and see them tucked in together like they used to be. I remember going home alone or with one or more of my sisters, every once in awhile to visit with my parents. I loved the way my parents made me feel so loved, the chance to be a "kid" for just a couple days (but without the parental/ boss component) it was a real time out for me from being on duty. They both commented that they really enjoyed just spending time with each of us, it wasn't a comment on our children or husbands; they just were parents, enjoying their children in that unique familiar way.
My husband said it well when he said it brought great comfort to have them home with us while they needed to be here. I want to say out loud, thank you to them both, that this last couple weeks, the time we four were together, like we used to be, under one roof, was so very dear, so very special. I savored each moment, tried to be conscious while it was happening, knew it might not happen again. I think I only got grouchy once or twice...Isn't it glorious that our home is and always will be their home too?