Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On having an empty nest

“I realize than that we never have children, we receive them. And sometimes it’s not for quite as long as we would have expected or hoped. But it is still far better than never having had those children at all.” ~ from the novel My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Having children is the experience of lifetime. There are endless lessons to be learned, moments of complete joy, mountains of work, and times of sadness.

You have babies. You nurse them, change their diapers, feed them, rock them and watch them sleep in their cribs. When they get a little older they cling, when they are older than that you wish they wouldn’t cling quite so much and then they get older than that and can’t wait to get away.

I have three children. My oldest is 18, working and out leading his own life. My middle son, 16, lives with his father and comes to see me every other weekend and then there is my daughter. She’s 15 and hasn’t spoken to me in a year. There are so many reasons for this, but mainly it can be put down to the painful transition a mother and daughter make when she grows from childhood to adulthood and the complications caused by my blogging about my life. Those teenage years are tumultuous, but all things considered, I thought my daughter would at least be yelling at me. Instead she left.

And so I sit at 40 years old with an empty nest. It didn’t happen slowly in the normal “kid graduates and goes off to college, followed by the next kid and the next.” It happened in a six week period almost two years ago. My middle son and my daughter went to live with their father.

In all fairness to them, my life away from the Mormon church changed me and became a different woman and mother than they were used to. Given the choice between the seeming stability of their father’s still-Mormon life and that it was completely familiar to them and a life with me, which was entirely new and foreign to them, they went with what they knew.

And now I have an empty nest.

Would I do anything differently? Certainly not. Is it scary living life outside a church that once was my whole world? Oh, yes. Did I lose all my friends? Certainly.

I didn’t plan on losing my daughter too, but that is how it worked out and I knew that leaving that church would come with severe consequences. Here they are….and I’m facing them.

She will come back to me someday….

In the meantime, I have a life to live.