the nest

the nest

Monday, June 1, 2015

It will never be the same... and that's good.

I was so excited for Katy to get home last weekend after her first year at Luther College in Decorah, IA!  She has had such a great year and is turning into the confident, amazing young woman we always knew she would.
I forgot that when they come home they become their younger selves😏  I still do this when I return to my parents home in MN- while I'm 47, I find myself lounging on the couch and feeling a little like the teenager I was when I left home for college almost 30 years ago!  Andy did it when he came home after his first year.  Why did it surprise me this time?  I should have been more than ready!
We've shared texts, phone calls, messages of all sorts, and have increasingly become friends ~ this doesn't mean that I'm not still mom and she's still not my child though.

That first year out they stretch their legs and experience life without having to report in or follow someone else's rules and requests.  It's AWESOME!  They handle their own mistakes and figure out how to negotiate the world (at least a small piece of it!). Then, they come home.
There are house rules, there are shared chores, there are expectations and demands.  Ugh.  I wouldn't want to come home either!  It's not quite that bad, but there is negotiating that needs to happen and give and take on both sides.  Young people returning home need to realize that when you live with any group of people there are rules and norms and the ones at your family's home are different than those in a dorm.  Parents need to realize that their child is not a child any longer and to impose the rules and expectations of High School won't work.  Renegotiating how to live together is important and will help all members of the family enjoy the short time together.
Now if we figure all that out, I'll let you know!

We just celebrated her 19th birthday yesterday.  The weekend was super busy, so the best we could manage was a delicious dinner and cake with the family ~ Andy came home and our neighbors/family came to join us.  It was a day of up and down for my girl - she's excited and happy to be home, but misses her friends and "new" home terribly.  Along with that comes that angst that we will be hurt if she tells us that while she loves us more than anything, she'd really rather be with her friends.  Again, that's as it should be.
This whole process of growing up is about moving out and creating a life for yourself.  While I don't mean to imply that I don't want to see my children and have a connection to them while they create this life for themselves, I want them to know that I'll be fine.

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the "Little House On the Prairie" books.  One of my earliest memories as a reader was reading "Little House In the Big Woods" and trying to wrap my brain around the idea that when they left the big woods they would most likely never see their grandparents again.  When you moved away, you MOVED AWAY.
In today's world of transportation and communications, it is easy to stay connected and in someways too easy.  I look around and see a lot of pressure to BE TOGETHER.  Again, I hope that I will always be a part of my children's lives, but I want them to follow their path wherever it takes them.  They need to live THEIR life, not mine.  Was it strange last Christmas when Katy was away from us? YES! Was it fine? YES.  She was having an experience and that's awesome!  As Andy considers his options for the future now that college is finished, some of those options might take him far away from us.  Is that a little sad for us? YES! Is it fine though? YES!

I want our children to remain connected to us because they love us and want to have a relationship with us, NOT because they feel obligated or required to.  While I am sometimes nostalgic for the past and thoroughly enjoy loving up other people's babies, I'm excited for the future! My children will have interesting, wonderful lives and Jeff and I will move onto the next phase of ours ~ that's the piece that really makes it exciting!  After a lifetime together, we are really just getting started!  We like each other more than ever and dream of the adventures WE will have and the life that WE will live as our children pursue their life journey.

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