Mothers are nesters. This is not something I didn’t know, but something that has definitely been driven home to me in recent weeks. Our first thoughts when we hear the word nest is of a mother bird as she tirelessly prepares a place to lay her eggs, protect the eggs through the developmental process, and then “mother” the tiny hatchlings as she lovingly nurtures them and ultimately teaches them to fly off. I have not researched birds enough to know if her babies continue to be a part of her life after they fly off or if the “flying off” process is the last time she sees them. If that is so, it is the sad ending to a story of selfless devotion. I am so completely thankful that rearing our children and seeing them off one day for good is not likely the last time we will see them. It might be their freshman year of college when they never come back home to live again. It might be the day they get married when we know their relationship with their parents has taken on a drastic change and we will no longer be number one in their life. It might mean saying goodbye at the airport when you know they’re moving away to a place too far to visit often. Such is the case with my oldest daughter. We had the bittersweet experience of saying goodbye to her at college, once more at her wedding, and then again years later the night before she boarded a flight with her husband to Central America where she has lived for the past six years. For quite a few years of my adult life, I focused upon building a suitable nest for all three of my children…a place to teach them, to care for them and make them feel safe…a place to love them with the years I had them with me. It was my sole and totally committed focus. And trust me, when the last hatchling leaves the nest, it is no easy task saying goodbye.
If you are a mother, I think you would agree that it is hard to explain to someone the selflessness it takes to be a mother or the depth of a mother’s love for her children. You have to be a mother to know that kind of love. It’s a love until the end. It’s a love that nothing can sever. It’s a love that truly bears any and every victory, hardship, and experience that your child has and you carry it deep within your soul. For health reasons, my sweet Hollie and her family have had to re-locate back to the United States for a year. Now, I simply cannot convey to you my joy to have her (and her mini-me whom I've never gotten to live near in her entire three point five years) so near once again. I know that it is temporary, and I have no idea the exact timing of their plans in the future, but for now I have them near, and I am beyond excited to be able to share with my daughter the things I’ve missed with her the last six years…lunches and shopping dates…impromptu dinners at each other’s homes…picking up the munchkin for some needed relief for mommy and some needed grandparent time for me and the hubs. But as I’ve known in the past and I’ve been reminded recently, the nesting instinct is a powerful thing. Even though this time together is not permanent (but what is?), she had to have a nest.
So my sweet daughter has been hunting for a nest simultaneously with her mother the last couple of months. And finding a place that fits the budget, offers the space and amenities needed (i.e., a yard, convenience, the right number of bedrooms), and just overall fits the need for a place to call home is no easy task as you know. But we’ve finally each found a nest to hunker down at least for awhile and do life. Mine, as you know, is a converted loft apartment that fills part of the top two stories of an early 20th century hotel. It is truly a nest, as the top floor overlooks the trees outside the windows! She has moved her sweet family into a modest one-story ranch 15 minutes away and has set up housekeeping for the family that so fills and holds her heart captive now. I think for the first time, my daughter can feel the depth of my love for her as she feels the depth of love she has for her own daughter. Having the experience of helping my daughter feather her own nest has been great fun! We’ve had some priceless time together, finding the just-perfect little twigs and branches (aka furniture, accessories, curtains, etc.!) that have morphed a small non-descript ranch house into a home filled with color, comfort, and my daughter’s own vibrant personality.
I think the “flying off” process is the hardest part of motherhood. We have dreams and visions for our children and sometimes our dreams and visions for them is not what they choose. And it’s not because their choices are wrong or not made with great soul-searching and thought, it’s just that we as their mothers see the difficulties their choices may bring down the road. We want there to be an easier way because we, beyond all hope, don’t want our children to suffer. Mothers have a great intuition and see things that no one else can see sometimes. But we raise them to be capable human beings so that, when we’re gone, they can carry on without us and be independent. We raise them to do good in this world. We raise them to leave their mark on the world. We raise them to be all they can be in a world that desperately needs them. But mostly so our legacy won’t be tainted with riotous living, right?! Sometimes that independence we try so hard to instill in them takes them right to the edge of our greatest fears. But real life is lived through experience, hardships and all, and the only way to grow is to face those hardships head-on and accept the outcome with great courage and the love that only a mother can know. None of us can stay in the proverbial nest forever. After all, we were born to fly.
Be we all, however, can make a nest in which to reside, even if we are well into our golden years and no longer have children at home. Because we mothers will mother till the day we die. We want to have a place, be it ever so humble, that our little (grown) hatchlings and their offspring can return to, even if it’s just a holiday meal shared around a large table for a few precious hours. But when the kids are nearby, you have the best of both worlds. And whether it’s a permanent arrangement or just for a year, we don’t take it for granted. We embrace it and enjoy every single solitary minute afforded with these offspring we so dearly love.
Because right now is really all we have.
Posted by CC
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