Empty Nester Awaits Return Flight

October 1, 2011 at 2:52 am 13 comments

Empty nest syndrome

It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I wrote my first blog (as written below) as an empty nester. I still seem to be riding the emotional seesaw, shifting between ups and downs, but always craving that central point that creates the necessary balance. I have, however come to realize that the ups are equated with each of our children’s happiness and the downs are merely moments of reflection of a simpler, carefree time that had its own pair of wings, flying by way too speedily.  Let’s face it: our kids blood runs through our veins. When they are happy, we are happy. When they are struggling we struggle right along with them. Welcome to parenthood ~ the best place to live! I am grateful that our children have the courage to flap their wings and challenge themselves knowing that our nest will always be their loving and familiar destination for landing. They seem to appreciate coming home more and more these days, and there is nothing sweeter than having everyone under one roof! The next best thing is planning our next trip to see our kids or coordinating their schedules and vacationing with them. So for those parents embarking on this new chapter of their lives, celebrate each other for reaching this point, embrace your children’s newfound independence, and do not turn the kids rooms into that workout room or office you’ve dreamed of, because fortunately “they will be back!”

Empty Nester Awaits Return Flight

I cannot remember a single day when I was in a rush for my kids to grow up and leave the nest. I was the last parent to send my kids to pre-school, the proud mom who claimed to be Head Counselor during “Camp Mom,” treasuring summer as my favorite season of the year while stretching the days out like a rubber band ready to snap. I was the Mom who cried when the first sign of “Back to School Sale” draped across newspaper ads and school supply chains. I dreaded dropping my kids off at school that first month and insisted walking them in leaving a sticky wet kiss on their faces that they eagerly wiped off (or rubbed in as I liked to imagine!)

A Simpler Time

Every first was a milestone largely celebrated!  From the Tooth Fairy’s visit to a new word mastered, a dance move choreographed and a slam dunk into the tot sized basketball hoop located in the middle of our living room. Everyday felt like Halloween while my children donned costumes from their treasure chest, putting on shows and constantly wearing their oversized imaginations. Gatherings often occurred around our kitchen table which was transformed into a tent to hide under during indoor camp outs, or a game table for competitive games of crazy 8’s or non boring board games. Many a homework assignment was completed at this table which especially “served” as a place to hang out and savor  home-made meals, delicious take out, great conversations and tons of milk spilling out your nose belly laughs!

Graduation

Graduations from pre-school seemed as monumental, at the time, as pomp and circumstance playing while our kids waltzed down the aisle at the end of their elementary school and middle school years. High School Graduation meant a sea of flowing royal blue gowns and matching caps sporting golden tassels waiting to be tossed to the opposite side, symbolic of our children’s significant  accomplishments. Over the years, as each of my children received their diploma and crossed the stage so effortlessly, I was brought to the sobering realization that they were now entitled, and encouraged by society, to fly the coup to pursue higher education and a fitting career path.  Home would soon be a nest that would gradually become empty, at least for the time being.

Who Me? A Helicopter Mom?

I have always thought of myself as a hands on parent. Those closest to me, including my kids, might even consider me to be a helicopter mom, hovering over my children as a protector, worrier and overly involved mom. Okay, I admit that I may be a bit over zealous in regards to each of my kids and passionately in love with each of them. I have chosen to make my role as a mother all-encompassing. It’s my calling after all, so I picked up on the first ring! As my baby embarked on her collegiate journey this fall, the last one to leave the nest, I am officially considered an empty nester. How does it feel? Bitter Tweet. I’m proud of all of my children’s new-found independence. I’m thrilled for their confidence and self-reliance. I’m happy for their happiness. I live for our daily texts, phone chats and weekly skyping. Although I’ll admit the longer phone calls have dwindled into short abbreviated texts that usually include: Busy studying, deposit money into my account lol, at the library, love ya lots and of course G2G ~ Got to Go!

I am enjoying the rekindling of my marriage of twenty~nine years. While my marriage has become more spontaneous, we have revisited our “dating days” and find ourselves stepping up our social scene. Our “date-night” conversation is about guess what? Yep, right again. We chat about our kids and how we truly miss the happy chaos of morning, unmade beds, music blasting, noisy homecomings and family dinnertime, and of course those wonderful good night kisses  accompanied by big hugs. Repeat.

Sibling Arrivalry

I guess this helicopter mom is going to have to wait until late November to land at the nearest landing strip to pick up my kids and fly them home for the holidays, a time when our nest will once again be full! Or maybe I should trust that they can fly south on their own with the rest of the flock. What matters most is that children always come home. That’s home tweet home! And this empty nester is counting the days until we are all reunited!

Today as I repost this blog as a promise to my friends who become “empty nesters” this coming fall, I can only hope it provides you with the strength to embrace whatever emotions you are feeling. These emotions are normal and expected, so please honor them. Reach out to other empty nesters for moral support, and by all means celebrate this next chapter. It’s a rite of passage (even though it may not feel quite “right.”)

Time has “flown” by again. My daughter, who is now a college graduate, will join the ranks of the working world, like her older brothers, and fly the coup once again.  And the seesaw tilts. Of this I can be sure… The two greatest things we can give our children is roots and wings! 

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Smile and the World Smiles With You All Dressed Up and Some Place to Go

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jodi  |  October 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Jayne…This is beautifully written and I echo all of the above feelings 110% It is as big of an adjustment for us moms as it is for our kids adjusting to their new lives….Thanks for sharing…Jodi

    Reply
    • 2. jaynebonilla  |  October 4, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      Jodi, we have both made Mother”hood” the best place to live:) My pleasure sharing. Thank you for reading ❤

      Reply
  • 3. Nancy Rovin  |  October 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    So well-written and my thoughts duplicated!

    Reply
    • 4. jaynebonilla  |  October 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      It’s nice to know that even though empty nesters feel lonely, we are in good company with other empty nesters. Therefore we are not alone.

      Reply
  • 5. Amad  |  October 4, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Jayne as I read your blog it made my eyes water. Everything you stated in your blog is pretty much what I am going through with my 15 y/o son. the great news is that my wife and I are expecting a baby boy, so with that being said I will not be an empty nester any time soon. Reading your blog makes me want to appreciate my time with my family even more. thank you! I couldn’t imagine that Sharks can be this sweet. LOL

    Reply
    • 6. jaynebonilla  |  October 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you Amad for your thoughts and for sharing my blog with many other parents and those expectant parents about to begin the best chapter of their lives! I had tears writing this blog so it’s only fitting that it induced tears in your eyes. I refer to tears as liquid emotions that are better off out, than in. Savor your time with your 15 year old because funny thing about time is…. we can’t get it back. And I guarantee in a blink of an eye his backpack for school will transform into a duffle bag for college. Ahhhh, a baby on the way. I am so happy for you and your wife and your son. To be needed unconditionally by a child and to love unconditionally in return is the true calling of a parent. I hope I can inspire you with more blogs along the way.

      Reply
      • 7. Amad  |  October 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        Thanks Jayne!!

  • 8. Christina Abad  |  October 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I loved this, Jayne! And I don’t think there is such thing as being over-worried or over-protective as a mother, I think that just comes with the job. Well, that’s what I tell myself, at least! Because, if not- then I am seriously obsessed with my lil one and his safety & well-being! I miss you and hope all is well with you & the family! So glad Jeff shared this link with me. I love your blog and can’t wait to read your books to Marcelo soon =) Please keep in touch with us!

    -Christina

    Reply
    • 9. jaynebonilla  |  October 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      You’re absolutely right Christina. To breathe is to worry. It’s just important to keep it in perspective and in moderation. I like to say “moderation in moderation!” I remember when my kids were little I had a fixation with cleanliness. With my first child, if his pacifier fell on the ground I threw it away; with my second child I’d boil it; with my third child I’d rinse it off under the faucet or with a soda. Imagine if I had a fourth child I would have probably rubbed the pacifier off on my clothes. I think I was born to be a protective parent. It was inherited from my parents. Ironically, as overprotective and obsessed with my children that I am, they have grown into secure, independent adults. Through the years I have had advice and opinions shared by others. The most important lesson is the one I have learned for myself. I am the Mother, my husband is the Father and we will always do what We believe is best for Our children. I am so happy for you and Jeff and your new bundle of joy. Marcelo is one lucky boy!

      Reply
  • 10. LISA REED TUCKER  |  July 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Jayne, I too share your passion for family and for the greatest loves of our lives ….. our children! I am also a writer and have enjoyed reading through your FB posts & blogs …. always entertaining and heartfelt. Keep up the great work, and many blessings on the next “chapter” of your life ….. certainly not empty, but filled with many more happy years of making new & different memories for you and for your children ….

    Lisa Reed~Tucker
    Fellow Helicopter Mom 😉

    Reply
    • 11. jaynebonilla  |  July 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Lisa and Leonor you are such wonderful moms and your words echo my feelings. Lisa, how fitting that we call ourselves helicopter moms, especially when we were actually flight attendants together, back in the day:)

      Reply
  • 12. leonor hynes  |  July 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Jayne,
    Being a mom is the best job in the world. When the kids find success and settle in it makes enjoying the empty nest time that much easier! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 13. jaynebonilla  |  July 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Reblogged this on Jayne Bonilla's Blog.

    Reply

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"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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