Having arrived early for her basketball game, she chose to sit in the warm car for a bit and we chatted. I thought to myself how weary I am of making school runs but how much I will miss our drive-time chats one day. She told me she would never eat another hot dog. “Do you know what’s in those things?”, she asked. She followed that up with “I cannot believe that people still eat at McDonald’s.” I feel as though I’ve climbed the motherhood mountain and reached the pinnacle of my parental achievements. My work here is done. She is good to go!
Our last bird is about to fly out of the nest. I’m going to miss her terribly but it does help to have had two other kids fly before her and see them successfully living out all we worked so hard to teach them. Plus, knowing she won’t be eating at McDonald’s puts my mind at ease.
The bittersweet of it all is that our nest will soon be quiet and her room will stay clean. We will send our baby off to college and I will take a nap (although this might look like sobbing in my pillow until I fall asleep). I will miss her just as I’ve missed our others. I’ve been a mom for twenty-six years now. That is about nine thousand, five hundred days of caring, worrying, taxiing, counseling, doctoring, bandaging, cleaning, cooking, shopping, disciplining, refereeing, etc. Setting my cheeky post title aside, My Work Here Is Done (Said No Mom Ever), being a mom is something I can’t simply walk away from, get over or be done with.
Parenting, however, is a role that I have already begun weaning myself and my daughter from. It’s not easy but it’s right. I learned early on in my parenting journey that in raising our kids it isn’t wise to be their friend. I’ve known many who followed that path but I fail to think of one who it worked out well for. After all the years of hard work of parenting are done, we get to hang out with them instead of hanging over them. We get to be the cheerleader instead of the coach. We reap the fruits of our labor; figuratively and literally.
In terms of sending off our last kiddo, she IS good, she IS ready to fly. My parenting work is coming to an end but my work as a mom will never end. The way I go about being a mom will need to change. My involvement in her life will change. But I will always be her mom. When everything else I’ve known seems to be flying away, being her mom is mine to keep.
I cannot always be her parent but I will always be her mom.
I’ve worked hard for over half of my life to be a good parent and a good mom. Now I get to narrow my focus to only being a good mom. I have some work to do in figuring out how to win the tug of war between angst and freedom but I must say, the future is bright.
Think about it:
*Have you ever thought about the difference between being a parent and a mom?
*How are you planning for your empty nest years? Do you look forward to them or do you dread them? Why?
*If you’re dreading the empty nest years, what can you do to reshape your outlook?
Pray about it:
*Father, thank you for entrusting me with the holy task of raising your child. Thank you for helping me make it through the parenting years. Help me to embrace this next season of motherhood and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Amen