A Life Worth Binge Watching

S3 E4 Don’t Blink

It seems like just yesterday, that my daughter was just a little girl wearing her princess crown, and princess shoes, twirling around the Volusia Mall. She was the most angelic child, always smiling and completely Mommy’s little girl. Even then, she was my buddy and I was amazed by her.  There was nothing better than having her wrap her arms around me, kiss me on the cheek, and tell me “I love you soooo much mommy.” She melted me. Even though she is not as vocal with her feelings now, we have a bond that goes beyond words. I am her biggest fan, and I know she is mine as well. We are so close that we not only complete each other’s sentences,  but we can look at each other and know exactly what the other is thinking. She’s my travel companion, my confidant, my best friend. She still melts me.

When I was pregnant, I read every book I could get my hands on to learn what I should do to properly raise a child.  I  was prepared for the terrible twos and I expected there to be some drama and friction during the teenage years. Not one of those books prepared me for how it would feel when she grew up and left home. I’ve always heard of the empty nest, but I never realized what it meant or how it felt. I don’t think anyone can truly prepare you for that. I spent 18 years being her mom, and was lucky enough to have been there for all of her sports and all of her activities.  I focused my life on raising her, and getting her ready to one day spread her wings and fly.

I just did not realize it was going to happen so quickly.  When they say, “don’t blink, because if you do, it will be over,” it’s not an exaggeration. My little girl in the pink high heel flip flops turned into a beautiful young woman in just a blink of an eye. When I started writing this column I had just become an empty nester. I remember the days leading to her leaving for college, feeling like I was losing part of my heart and soul. I could not fathom the idea of not seeing her every day and hearing her laughter from across the house. With her away from home, I would not have any idea what she was doing all day, what she was wearing or what she ate. I remember the first time I went to the grocery store after she left.  II honestly didn’t know what to get because I usually bought things that I knew she liked. I had no idea what I liked. I think I ended up with a couple of boxes of cereal and a bottle of wine on that first grocery trip.  

After she had been gone for a couple of months, I started getting into the groove, as I tried to redefine my life and figure out what my next chapter was going to look like. I started this column and created a Facebook page for empty-nesters, which I am proud to say has over 1000 members from all over the world. I figured if I was going through these emotions and having an identity crisis, others surely must be feeling the same way. For a while, I did pretty good. She came home this summer for a few months, and it was wonderful. We spent nearly every moment together, whether it was going on exciting trips or just hanging out watching whatever Netflix show we were binging at the moment  I had my girl back. Then summer ended and I had to move her back to college, and this time, into an apartment.

It’s hard to sum up feelings that arise from watching your child grow up and begin a life of their own  On one hand, you are incredibly proud and so happy that they have the courage and independence to go on out on their own.  On the other hand, you feel sad and alone to see them go on with their life without you being in the center. For some reason, this time was harder for me. I guess maybe it was the feeling that she probably would not be home as much, and might not ever live at home again. 

It’s been a couple of months and I am doing better, although I still have my days. I’ve started coaching cheerleading again, which has kept me busy and occupied my mind and my time.  I am spending more time with family and friends and concentrating on my career. The house still feels so quiet and empty, and I miss her every day.  It’s a good thing that we have FaceTime and Snapchat so I can still see her angelic face and hear her laugh.

We are still as close as ever. She is still the first person I want to tell things to, and she still needs my support and love.  I know in time I’ll get used to participating in her life from afar.  It’s time for me to get back to my roots to figure out what makes me happy and what my future holds. The nest might be empty, but the mama bird can still fly!  

If you or someone you know is suffering from an empty nest, feel free to join or invite others to my Facebook group @EmptyNesters101. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1073391163405281/?ref=share_group_link&exp=93fa

Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly, inspiring women everywhere to follow their dreams of adventure.

Follow @ALifeWorthBingeWatching on Facebook. #ALifeWorthBingeWatching