I just came to the realization that I am closer to being an empty-nester than not.
My boys are 10 and 16 and we have officially hit that point where they are closer to leaving more than ever.
My oldest is a junior in high school and is itching to get out of our house and take on the world. I look at him and know that everything we do with him at this point might be the last time we experience that with him living in our house. We have maybe two — at the most — Christmases and holidays where he is still our kid only. Not the adult that was formerly our kid, who now swings by to eat our food and maybe gets me to do his laundry.
I know he will always come back after he graduates, but it won’t be the same. He will be an adult who has his own life and own way of doing things, in addition to being my son.
I know I should be proud of him for becoming a strong, independent young man…
But what about me?
I have essentially worked myself out of a job. I have spent his whole life trying to form him into a strong and confident person, who isn’t afraid to pursue his dreams. I am excited that we have worked so hard and he is reaping the benefits of becoming a young adult.
I’m just not sure where I fit into this equation now.
The two of us have grown up together. I got pregnant with him at the age of 19. I have never had to be an adult without a child before.
My husband and I have never had that “us” time to just do things on our own without someone to care for. We have always been plotting what we would do when our kids are gone, and now we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it really terrifies me.
I don’t know if I am ready to figure out who I am beside Brad and Jack’s Mom.
I have never truly had the chance to just be me.
I have fully embraced the role of mother and have no regrets about that, but what happens when I don’t have that full-time job anymore?
How do I figure out my role in the world besides chauffeur, cook, entertainer and warden to my kids? I know I have done myself and probably my kids a disservice by not doing things more for me. I always thought I was doing the right thing by making my kids the center of my world and always putting them first.
I always have them in the back of my mind, and what they might need (Did they eat dinner? Do they have homework done?)
Who am I going to fret and worry about when they leave? I don’t think my husband will embrace my role as “Helicopter Wife.” He hardly ever needs me to pick out his clothes in the morning, or make sure he has showered.
I feel like I might need to get a puppy or a kindergarten class to look after now that my kids are outgrowing me.
As women, we tend to put everyone’s needs before our own and we get lost in the shuffle. I know I am guilty of this.
I need to find out who I want to be and how I plan to do this.
I don’t want to change the fact that my children are growing up into great people and are on the right track to be successful adults. I just need to be proud of the people our children are becoming and my role in them getting there.
I have to learn to enjoy the moments that I still have with my boys and look forward to the woman I will become.
I just hope I meet her soon.
Kristi Davis is married with two children and lives in Fruita, Colo. Read her regularly on fruitamoms.com.