I was a child bride. At least by today’s standards, I was, but back in my younger days, living in a small town in western Nebraska, it was common practice to marry soon, very soon, out of high school.
And that’s what we did–when I was 19 and Doug was 20. Fifteen months later, our first daughter was born. Three more followed. With our youngest, Amy, coming seven years after the sister before her, Doug and I have had a child in the house for a very lo-ong time.
Why does that scare me?
Amy goes off to college on Friday and ends 31 years of curfews, chores and school activities. No more uniforms to wash on weekends. No more work schedules posted on the ‘fridge. No more ‘What’s for supper, Mom?’
It scares me, all right. What will Doug and I talk about? What will we do when we only have each other? What will it be like to have the house empty of little chicks?
Ironically enough, the Today Show (my favorite–you’ll hear me quote from them often in the coming months) recently aired a segment on becoming empty-nesters. They tell me I’m entering the second half of motherhood and that I’ll have the time of my life. They claim my marriage will likely enter into a new honeymoon stage. We’ll rediscover each other. Grow closer. Have fun.
I’ll also be entering a phase that will be just for me. More time to write. Or take spontaneous research trips. I can pick up and go to writers conferences, have lunch with girlfriends . . ..
Sure. Okay. But the fact remains I’ve lived more of my life with children than without them, and now my littlest chicky doesn’t need me anymore. She’s sprouted her own wings and is flying away to a new life of her own. I’ll lay awake at night knowing her bedroom is empty and her car isn’t sitting in the driveway. I won’t know where she is at any given moment.
I’ll get over it, I suppose. Most likely, I’ll even learn to like it. Until then, I take comfort in the Today Show telling me there’s a million of us on the brink of post-mommyhood as the new school year begins, and I’m not alone as I enter my new world.
What about you? Are you there yet? Was it hard having your little chick leave the nest–or are you counting down the days?