Why do they have to go?
Sometimes right before I drift off to sleep my mind starts to drift to a dark place. My dark place is when I am all alone, when everyone has left me for one reason or another. Being alone is my greatest fear. It is born out of a fear of silence. I know this isn't a realistic fear. That with 3 children and a husband it is unlikely I will have no one.
It all starts by thinking about how quickly my children grow. How one day they won’t want to hold my hand. Kiss my cheek. Be picked up. It hurts to realize they grow up and this phase of life is so very fleeting. Then it wanders to old age and the finality of that end.
My brain eventually has to stop my heart from breaking entirely and to cut off the tears that sometimes roll down my cheeks as I stare at the monitor in disbelief that my life is this good. My brain has to step in and say, “it’s ok.”
I know that getting older is hard for many people. That watching children grow and leave is heart wrenching while at the same time the very definition of parenting. It's just you don't realize what it feels like until you are here. Thinking back to when my mom left me at college I didn't realize just how much that hurt her. When I was falling apart with separation anxiety she was encouraging me to be strong while on the inside she was also hurting. Missing her children who were no longer home.
I recently turned down a job, one I had wanted for many years actually. I did it because I need to savor every moment. If I live to be the average age of 81 my children's infancy and toddler stages make up roughly 11% of my entire life. This is where you have to decide what you value most in life and that answer isn't the same for everyone.
For now, I will calm my nerves about them moving out and simply enjoy them growing.