On my back deck is a birds nest. The birds nest is empty. A bird made the nest out of dried grass and mud. She laid her eggs in the nest, sat on the eggs and raised her babies. She fed her babies and kept them warm until they grew feathers.
The mother bird taught her babies to fly. Then the babies flew away and left the nest.
The nest was not designed to keep the baby birds forever.
Tomorrow my nest will have one less bird in it.
My oldest daughter is going to spend her summer in another state. She bought a one way ticket to California. Some time later this summer she will buy a return ticket back to Pennsylvania.
People have asked me how I feel about her leaving.
“How do you feel about her leaving?”
“Are you okay with her going?”
“How are you holding up?”
The underlying thread of the questions is that I should feel sad or not approve of her leaving. At least, I think they is what is implied. I usually say, “I am holding up fine. No problem. Great idea.”
And then I wonder why people ask me what I think about her leaving. Am I missing something? Am I a bad mother for being excited she gets to spend her summer living by the ocean? Am I a bad mother because I want her to live her own life, even if it means I won’t see her as often? Maybe once a year?
I am the mother who hitchhiked through Israel, lived on a kibbutz, flew to Tokyo on a one way ticket and then stayed seven years. My life has been full of adventure. The last eighteen years I have been teaching my children to fly. They have wings and I want them to use them.
Birds were made to fly.
I want her to fly. I want her to leave the nest. I want her to have a life filled with adventure.
I have heard the expression “the empty nest” before. Women are sad when their children leave home. They are sad when their children move to another state or a different town. Lamenting the loss.
Birds were made to fly: your children have wings
Your children may move to another country. They may marry and move to another state. Your child may never live in the same city as you again.
There are no promises that your child will buy a house in the city you live in. There are no promises you will see your grandchildren every day.
My daughter’s life is her own. She is free to follow her dreams.
However. The nest she is leaving will always be her home.
Good parents give their children Roots and Wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught them.”
-– Jonas Salk
She can keep her house key. My home is always hers to come home to.
Do you have an empty nest? Have your birds flown away?
Please let me know in the comments. I would love to chat.