An Empty Nest. The Grieving Period.

When kids are little, you want them to grow up and become independent quickly. When they grow up and become independent, you want them to slow down and stop time. Where has the time gone?! A question I keep asking myself and the emotional soundtrack playing over and over in my heart. KB is officially at college and I officially have an empty nest. 

What I have learned in the last week since packing Kelis up for college, driving five hours there and back, and sitting with all of my feelings is there is a grieving process/period. Yesterday I was in the grocery store doing my normal grocery shopping for the house and busted out in tears. Yep, a true hot mess in the produce department. I cried and let myself cry as I went up and down the aisle in a confused state.  What would I buy? For the last 17 years the first person I have always thought about when it comes to their needs were hers. Now I am not buying her favorite snacks or meal planning for the week with her in mind. I find myself crying while washing and organizing her clothes left here. Crying while listening to the songs we danced to in the car, crying when I look at all the sweet notes she has left and cards made for me. I am crying a lot. Crying because there are no damn shoes at the entry way for me to yell "Kelis come pick up your shoes"!!!

I am grieving the loss of my daily existence with her. That is fkin hard to wrap my brain around. 

So when people say, "Cut the cord mom" or it's time for her to "spread her wings" it makes my skin crawl. No shit! State the obvious! As a parent you know all of these things and you parent them in hopes they do this successfully when they are out on their own. However it doesn't make it any easier when that time comes. People stop telling mothers this. Stop it! I am thankful for the handful of friends who have text or called to see how I am doing. They understand our relationship and honestly understand the journey we have been on as a single mom and daughter. It runs deep. 

I heard Kelis crying in her bathroom the night before we left for WSU and went upstairs to see what was wrong.  There we both sat on the bathroom floor crying.  I asked what was wrong and she responded, "Should I be doing this?" I won't see you everyday or Sydney (our dog) and that makes me sad. My heart breaking for my little old soul who is still just a young woman growing and learning each day. All questions she should be asking herself because let's face it, this is a lot to take in for anyone. As adults we question xyz when it comes to major life decisions in our lives. Personally or professionally. If she had not questioned herself she would not be in touch with her feelings in the way I have encouraged and raised her to.

Kelis is 17 years old, graduating high school early (Coming back to walk with her high school class in June) and starting college earlier than intended. That's a lot to take in for her and myself.  I have solely raised Kelis on my own for the last ten years. And even prior to that, it has always been she and I from day one. Our bond is deeper and stronger because of the love and sacrifices I have made for her. I have driven more miles than I can count taking her to all of her practices, games, events and more. I have stood in the worst weather cheering her on as she does the thing she loves most. Play soccer. 

I have cooked for an army of kids what feels like a million times.  I've hosted a ton of sleepovers, consoled kids, been the mom for her friends to come and talk to and as Kelis says, hosted the best parties for her. Things I would not change for anything in the world. It's what you do. Or at least what I did. She's been by my side through it all and I have been her rock, her safe place. Her place of consistency. I have been home. So again, stop telling mothers to essentially get over their kid leaving the nest and allow us to grieve the loss of our daily mom life. 

Now I am parenting from afar. Or as needed. After spending a few days in Pullman with her and getting her all moved in, I feel at peace with where she is. Sure I am worried if she will wake up on time but she will have to figure that out. I am worried if she will make smart choices. Again, she will have to figure that out on her own.  I've laid the foundation but it doesn't mean I won't worry from time to time. The entire soccer athletic staff have absolutely been the best! I am thankful for the time they have spent with she and I leading up to this and while I was there.  KB is surrounded by an incredible group of coaches and operations team who are thrilled to have her but will genuinely take good care of her. It has helped that she has bonded with several girls on the team over the years and to my liking has made a few non soccer friends in the last couple of days.

She will do fine. I will do fine. But I am grieving.

Xo ~ L

 KB's fist night in her dorm! :)

KB's fist night in her dorm! :)