EMPTY NEST~ Tears of Joy, Sadness?

by | Oct 1, 2009 | Every Day Life

It is official. We have an empty nest. It is day 15 of our life without children in the house. I no longer cry everyday and I am even finding some things about this new arrangement quite enjoyable.
But let’s start from the beginning. Child number one, Adrin, graduated from Arkansas Tech in May. He had a job and a new place to live by June. It’s like he is a real grown-up! I am still amazed that my child now owns his own washer, dryer and refrigerator. Granted, they are all used appliances, but he owns them.
He also has his own car and health insurance. He hasn’t done everything the way his momma would have wanted him too, but I must say we are quite proud, and it is time for his momma to butt-out — well, at least until he asks for my advice… and I will be ready and willing to give it! We really miss him.
This would be our second time to take Dillon — the middle child — and leave him at Oklahoma State, so I knew I could survive letting him go. But as summer grew to a close and August 14 kept creeping up on the calendar, I began to get that panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach. It got to where I could not watch the commercials about kids going to college without crying.
Move in at OSU was much faster and smoother the second time around. We had learned not to bring so much stuff, and we brought our youngest son, Payton, this time. Having an extra boy to haul everything really helped. As a matter of fact, I didn’t do much. I didn’t even make Dillon’s bed. He made it himself. I did make the ‘official Wal-Mart-run’ to stock up on food for the dorm.
Donald and I got a hotel room on campus and told the boys to call us if they wanted to go to dinner. That call never came. The boys spent the rest of the afternoon and evening going from room to room as all of Dillon’s friends began arriving on campus. They went to dinner without us. Dillon was home — OSU — and really happy to be there. It makes a mother’s heart happy and sad at the same time.
My goal was to not break down in front of Dillon. I managed to hug Dillon really big about three times as we made our way to the door with only a tear in my eye — but no crying. Then, as we drove away, it started. I didn’t cry all the way home, but I cried enough that Payton asked me, “Are you ever going to stop crying?” Little did he and I both know that the worst of my crying was yet to come…
Dillon’s absence hit Payton as he walked into his bedroom upon our return home. It was just a matter of moments and my baby was sobbing in his father’s arms. D & P – as we call them – had worked together, played together and many nights even slept in the same bed together. We knew the separation this year was going to be harder on them than last year.
I was a giant puddle, completely undone. Once again, something that makes a mother’s heart happy and sad at the same time.
Just two days later, it was Payton’s turn to fly the coup. Move in started at 8 a.m. I did make Payton’s bed. After that I pretty much just tried to stay out of the way while he and his dad did the rest. I have learned my job is the ‘Wal- Mart run’ for food. By the time we got back, Payton was already moving on with his new life and we hadn’t even left campus yet. More and more of his friends were arriving and we were just in the way.
It was just one more thing to make a mom’s heart happy and sad at the same time.
I have to admit I was exhausted from the last couple of days and I was ready to leave. I expected lots of tears on the way home, but they never came. I knew I was going to see Payton on Sunday while I was in Springdale teaching an ACT prep class and I think that helped. I kept telling myself, “I’ll see him soon.” I still had this knot in my throat and I knew at some point I would need a good cry – just not yet.

Wednesday came and I almost lost it at lunch time while I was flipping TV channels. The boys would watch The Jerry Springer show every day when they came home for lunch. I don’t understand it, but they found this show hilarious. I caught a glimpse of that show and felt the tears begin to well. I stopped them and that was a big mistake. I should have just cried it all out right then in the privacy of my own home.
The next day, Thursday — Day Two of our empty nest — I had a dermatology appointment. The nurse was asking all the standard questions. Then we began to talk about places I had lived. She said something about children and I started to say this is a great place to raise kids, but that sentence never got out of my mouth.
HERE THEY CAME – the tears. And I mean in buckets. I could not even talk. I finally managed to tell her I was alright and mutter, “Second Day of empty nest.” Then I got tickled at myself for losing it in the doctor’s office and I began to laugh and cry at the same time. I felt so bad for the young lady but I just could not stop crying.
When the doctor came in I still could not stop crying. I once again got tickled at how absurd this must appear and began the laughing and crying bit again. I just could not stop the tears. So through my sobs I began to point out the moles I was concern about. I can only image the stories they told around their dinner table that night.
It just makes a mother’s heart happy and sad all at the same time. It also makes her sons roll their eyes in disbelief — even when she can’t see them.

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