On a scale of one to Sesame Street, my nest is potentially feeling as empty as Big Bird’s when he’s on vacation in Hawaii. I say potentially because two of my three kids are still living at home, but we’re on the edge. One of my boys is seriously about to find his own digs and the other is suddenly 15… going on 35.
I can see into the future, guys and it’s mostly STICKS. The nest is extremely drafty, hushed and bare, except for little bits of fluff and crumbs, a reminder of where they once chirped.
I remember when my kids were not getting ready to go. They were around all the time, ever chatty, needing help, wanting all the things, snacking on all the snacks, slurping the spaghetti, feeling the feelings, being the axis of our life.
I remember hands held, tears wiped, foreheads band-aided, chins tucked in. I remember quiet chatter, shrieks, chortles, screaming (a lot of screaming!), whining, giggling and sobs. Also: drawings drawn, sultanas thrown, paintings painted, volcanoes erupted, cakes iced, sand castle-d, dinosaurs battled, Lego built, stories read.
Now things are really different. The bracing sounds, feelings and activities have merged into something more grown up. Dinners together. Messages exchanged. Chats about our days.
Don’t get me wrong, this grown up phase is just where we’d been getting to, all this time. (It’s lovely, I promise.) But gosh I really do miss the bright-eyed listening, the excited idea-struck faces, the shampoo-sculpted Triceratops horns, the grubby, pudgy little hands, the post-bath towel-enveloping of yesterday.
I know that people ALWAYS say you should make the most of those early years of parenting:
The days are long, the years are short, etc
But I REALLY want to tell you that it’s totally true.
Yes there’s a hands-free, less-noisy, more relaxed, less demanding life to be had when kids get older. But I guarantee you’ll miss those snuggles and endless smooches, those earnest pre-school conversations, the triumphant or troubled after-school news, that focused playing-a-really-good game hum…
I wanted to say, however hard it is, don’t wish it away. Okay?
One day, sooner than seems possible, it will be YOU wondering how Big Bird is going in Hawaii and dusting away the little crumbs of chirpy kids who’ve flown the nest.