I can feel the doom lurking in the corners. The hot August air swirls dust bunnies and cobwebs on the living room floor. A soft splash echoes from Jasmine who lays stretched long in the bath, reading. At nearly thirteen she is lovely and soon to be taller than me. But the bedrooms are quiet. The refrigerator hosts only a few necessities for feeding just three and the pantry is nearly bare. Yeah, I know, they'll be back, but for how long? May a month, Summer a year...and then like feathers soft in the wind...their gone again. By this time next year, I'll have two in college and a freshman in high school. Up, up, up and away.
It's not that I would have it any other way. When May took her first steps, we hooted and hollered, squeezed her tight and said, "You did it Baby, you walked!" She threw back her head and giggled long and deep, so proud. Each step we've celebrated. And always following me...lingering in the shadows...I knew. I knew we were teaching them how to live without us.
And oh, goodness, they are so glorious...they are smart and funny and courageous and accomplished. They have great big giant hearts, and this old world is lucky to have them. They will fly and they will thrive and they will give back. No mama could be more proud.
But I don't quite know what to do with myself and this looming empty nest.
I am Mama, it's what I love, it's what I know...it's who I am. I know...I know, that's not fashionable anymore. And in these parts, you don't find many traditionally run homes. Both parents work, they have to, they say. But Jon and I have found that there are several creative ways to run a household on one income, and the trade off being the one who was able to be here all these years, for every first step, every scraped knee, every tear, every belly laugh, every everything, is a choice I'll never regret.
But when they are gone, who will I be? Sure, I have hobbies and Jon and I still want to travel someday. And Lord knows, I'll have to do something to help with that college tuition. And I even have some buried aspirations and hibernating dreams. I was so young when being Mama overtook my every waking, and every sleeping moment. There are for sure some things left undone.
And I want to grow. I want to become something new. I want this new phase to be a birth and not so much of a death. And I want my kids to be proud of me. I don't want to muddle around in this house waiting for them to visit, guilting them into visiting. I want to fly too. I'm not really sure what that will look like, maybe it won't look like much to the outside world. But I know it's coming...and I'm getting ready, feels like I'm about to jump off a cliff, and I really hope the parachute opens.