Empty Nests And Building New Ones

As I stood in the middle of the older, but cute, tiny apartment, drenched in light and beautiful hardwood floors I was a bawling mess. All I could hear was “Mom, why are you crying?” You see Raymond moved into his new apartment over the weekend, and it will be the apartment he and Alyssa start to build their own little nest. I stood in the middle of their apartment crying, I was taken back and didn’t see that coming, neither did Rob OR Raymond. I was a mess. My nest is empty, but Raymond was building his own nest and today I was having a hard time with it.

As Rob and I drove home, I was replaying a conversation in my head I had with Raymond when we met for coffee a few weeks ago. We talked about how excited he was to be getting married and things to expect.  I usually feel inadequate giving marriage advice, while this marriage has lasted over ten years, and it’s a good and happy marriage, it’s my third time around.  As we were having the conversation, I was thinking to myself.   Perhaps he might be better served by getting marriage advice from someone who had been married for 50 years, 40 years, even 20 years and I am not that person. However, I thought to myself; I can certainly talk about what NOT to do in a marriage.

As we were talking about things I’ve learned from the mistakes I made in previous marriages, I felt more secure with Raymond and his pending wedding. He is so much smarter and aware than I was at his age. When I was his age, I had been married for three years and was having a hard time with married life. When I got married, I had no idea at 21 who I was nor did Raymond’s father.   One of our major problems was we didn’t realize we had to grow together, and instead we grew apart. At almost 24 years old, Raymond seems to understand this already, and I am hopeful for his future with Alyssa.

But being hopeful doesn’t stop a mother from worrying. I hate worrying about my kids; it’s something that you can’t control, and it’s a painful, uncontrollable feeling. You feel helpless, but you have to let them figure things out on their own. It happens as early as when they are learning to ride a bike. You hold your breath the day the training wheels come off, and they ride down the driveway without your help, and I’m pretty sure you never stop holding your breath. Raymond has large scars on his knees from a time he went flying down the driveway without training wheels and crashed onto the gravel.  He picked himself up, literally picked the gravel out of his knees.  Climbed on the kitchen counter and used half a box of band-aids to fix his knee.  All while his dad unknowingly continued to mow the lawn.

If taught right early on, kids will figure out how to get themselves out of jams and fix themselves up, all the while the parents are unknowing and holding their breath.   That, however, does not make me feel any better with a few weeks before he gets married and the worrying of him being 100% on his own looming on the horizon. A friend of ours said, “Married? That’s it; that’s when you’re completely done.” But not really, you never are completely done; I believe you worry about your children right up until the day you die.

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