Thursday, August 26, 2010
Food for Thought Thursdays: And Then There Were Two
Janet here: After 13 years straight of parenting teenagers fulltime and nearly 26 years of being (mostly) first in our children's lives, Peter and I have officially moved to back-seat status. S, the last child, has left the nest for college and the middle son, G, left yesterday on a jet plane for the next life adventure on the West Coast.
It's a strange feeling, this empty nest. On the one hand, Peter and I are more than ready. One teenager would be exhausting; having multiples for years on end has left us feeling at times as if we were on the 14th round in a boxing match. There were certainly days when I wondered how I would make it until they actually left.
But now the house is empty and of course it is a lot quieter than I imagined it would be. When I walked into G's room to strip his bed, it looked and felt different than S's room, which is still filled with S's essence in a way that G's is not. S's room is a movie on pause; G's room belongs to a show that is over, its main character gone forever.
It is the way it is supposed to be, of course. I wanted to raise strong-hearted and strong-minded children who would feel the world is their oyster. I didn't want to be a parent who stood in the way or who made her children feel as if they couldn't leave. I know, too, that they will be back and that, of course, we will have more family adventures and times together. But the path of the orbit has shifted; where we were once the sun, now we are the moon, still providing light of course but without the same strength.
I know in coming days, I will begin to feel happier about this new change. I am excited to see what it means for Peter and me individually and as a couple. If nothing else, I am no longer going to have to worry about whether a new dish will be well-received; the last fussy eater just left the building and our palate just expanded immeasurably.
Most of all, I am excited to see where our children will go next. This time of their lives is so open with opportunity; it is the decade of complete possibility in so many ways. I can't wait to see where the ride takes them — and us.