I know the tears are just below the surface…just waiting for an invitation to stream down your face. I know that as you write this, they are welling up in your eyes.
But, I also know that the tears are full of nostalgia, loss, pride, excitement, joy, fear and an overwhelming, never-imagined-you-could-love-this-much love; and that all of these emotions apply to not only how you are feeling about the kids, but about yourself and your collective futures.
You are all transitioning, at once, so be gentle, be open and be honest…with yourself, and them.
You nailed it! You done good girl.
I know how hard you worked to be the kind of mother you wanted to be and that it wasn’t always easy. I know how many times you cried (sobbed) when the going got tough, behind closed doors when the kids couldn’t hear or see. I know how much restraint you exercised because you wanted the kids to see you behave in a way that modeled how you hoped they would, even when you burned with anger, frustration and soul crushing sadness. I know how much pain you endured when you weren’t “perfect”, when you had moments that were, well let’s just say, not your finest.
I know how you struggled to rebuild your life after divorce, and your fierce commitment to being their mother while at the same time doing what you needed; and how sometimes you (and so many others) judged you as selfish, irresponsible and inappropriate. But you knew…you knew that if you wanted them to take ownership over their own lives during the good and bad times that they will face themselves, you had to show them how to do it. You had to show them how to practice self-care and self-prioritization so that they could build their own resilience and create the lives and relationships they truly desire.
I know how hard you worked to show love in so many ways because there are so many love languages and you used them all. Motherhood isn’t defined by affluence, baking cupcakes, marital or working status, it is the communication and bond that is created between a mother and child over the many ages and stages. It is open, honest and vulnerable…it is leadership at its best.
I know you practiced YOUR vision of motherhood, even when no one agreed with you. Not your parents, not your ex-husband, and not your friends or colleagues. You kept your eye on the prize, being the kind of mother and role model you truly wanted to be because we all know, people do as you do, not as you say.
So let me tell you now. You nailed it. Perfectly imperfect, ordinarily extraordinary.
They are beautiful, kind, compassionate, loving, honorable, trustworthy, generous and funny young men. They are prepared for their next chapter, and know that you are not their friend, but their mentor, leader and infinite source of love.
And you are prepared. You are ready for this next phase of motherhood; that no longer includes making meals on daily basis or the hundreds of “where are you” and “what are your plans for the day” texts. Your daily bond will shift to a collaborative building of an adult relationship between a parent and child; you are all equally responsible for staying connected. (although let’s face it, they are boys and will need reminding!)
They need you to spread your own wings, transition to your new home, and ground yourself in passion, purpose and play. They need you to do all of these things because they are still watching and learning, and their life will involve transitions that you (or they) can’t possibly predict, and they will learn the skills to navigate them through you.
You will show them that love, happiness, joy, and fulfillment are created from inside themselves. No money, house, job, relationship or possession will give that to them. It is on you to show them what being a masculine man, loving partner, and nurturing parent looks like. If you thought your job was over, it most certainly is not.
But, you are now ready to walk even more fully in who you are a woman.
I know you are scared, being tethered to your kids has been safe. They have kept you grounded and given you lots of excuses to be busy and possibly avoid other feelings in your life. Well, darling, it is time to face the music and step into the bold, audacious and amazing future that lies ahead.
I love you.
They love you.
You are loved…you are love.
Let’s no longer use the term “empty nesting” because it’s not. Let’s say Epic Desire Filling, because as you fill your life with all that you desire, your relationship and experiences with them will be among them.
You’ve got this…and I have your back.