Happy Monday, everyone! This week on the porch, Beth brought up this topic: May often signals a season of change – good-byes and new adventures. What is changing for you with the end of this school year? What are your summer plans?
Around our house this year, the question really isn’t what is changing, but what isn’t changing? It is definitely a season of change around here, with the college boy fully graduated, employed, and settled, and the high-school boy heading off to college. So as not to keep beating a dead horse (or an empty nest), I’m working to contemplate the bright side of empty nesting right now.
It’s not always an easy thing to do. How can it be “the plan” that we hard working, devoted (and totally awesome I might add) parents end up all alone in empty houses, left only with the fading Field Day ribbons, the dusty sports trophies, the crispy construction-paper valentines, the dry rotted high school letter jackets, the closets full of clothes they no longer want?
It seems like such a dastardly scheme, such a cruel twist of fate. You put your body and soul into a job, and then Poof! Gone! At this point, I calculate that I’ve been mothering people more than half of my life. It’s instinct now. I know the power of these instincts. As a farm girl, I’ve seen them at work firsthand.
Years ago, we moved to a ten thousand acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country, a dream for husband-and-wife horse lovers like us. During foaling season, one of the daily jobs was to check wild, brushy horse pastures for new babies. We hadn’t been on the ranch long when we discovered our first new arrival. The spindle-legged little fellow was weak and in bad shape, so we brought him to the headquarters with an anxious mama tagging along behind. We determined that the mare wasn’t producing milk, and so we began preparations to bottle feed the baby while the anxious mama paced nearby, nickering and fretting and pawing the ground.
Imagine our surprise when one of the ranch hands happened by, looked at the unhappy mare, and informed us that she couldn’t possibly be the baby’s mother because she was an older mare who had failed to get pregnant the previous year. In other words, she had stolen the baby from someone else. What we had on our hands was a clear case of foalnapping.
When we checked the pasture, sure enough, there was a young first time mama out there wandering around, not quite knowing what hit her. Within an hour, the real mom and her baby were reunited, the baby was nursing, and all was well with the world…
Except, that is, for the surrogate mom, pacing the fence and whinnying into the distance, her big ol’ heart breaking as the young mother led that baby away. There’s really nothing sadder than a creature with the mothering instinct and nothing to mother.
I don’t even blame that old mare for her ill-fated attempt at solving her problem. Every once in a while at the ballpark or the mall, I see a little knobby-legged, wide-eyed future baseball player, or a little girl with bows and curls, and a tiny voice in my head says, “Hmmm… wonder if anyone would notice?”
Since stealing human babies is technically illegal, and I don’t want to end up locked in the corral like that old mother horse, I’m trying to reflect on the potential good side of empty nesting as we drift into this altered state. I polled Facebook Friends today, looking for sustenance. I got back a few positive comments which I think I’ll share in a later blog along with some tips from folks who seem to have done “empty nesting” well. For now, I thought I’d look around my house and come up with my own Top Ten List of potential good things about the eventual emptying of the nest. As my grandma always said, “Lisa Jo, turn your face to the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind you.”
Top Ten Potential Bright Spots In Empty Nesting
1. Grocery bill will decrease by at 70% or more (at least according to my calculations). No need to lug home massive cases of Gatorade, either.
2. No one phoning at 4:35 in the afternoon with news that “Black pants, white shirt, red tie, and dress shoes,” (which we don’t own) are needed at school by 5:25.
4. Will be able to open the laundry hamper without releasing noxious odor of athletic socks and gym shorts.
5. No more forays to the Wal-mart parking lot to capture live crickets for pet lizard. Pet lizard AND the pet duck will leave home with man-children (No, really… I insist).
6. When someone gives us a Christmas coupon for a romantic weekend at a bed and breakfast, we won’t be driving through a snowstorm the next December to get to the B&B before the coupon expires.
7. Car insurance companies will have to find someone else to bump to them top of the Fortune 500 earnings list.
8. No more cheap cereal in giant bags. Will be able to have the good cereal in the fancy boxes AND chocolate bars in open containers. No more problems with hiding the Mommy treats and forgetting where they are.
9. Eating out will no longer require taking out a special line of credit.
10. They’ll come home to visit and give their mama great big hugs when they walk in the door.
Right? Won’t they?
Someone please tell me the answer to that last question is YES!
What about you? Have any thoughts on the bright side of empty nesting? Please share. I need a little help, here ;o)
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