Hello Empty-Nester self,
I know, I know. I have it so good.
Eleanor is a super-fun toddler who is only occasionally snarky and is just blossoming every day. Edward loves (is there a stronger word than love?) for me to hold him. Those clear blue eyes meet mine and tell me I’m the only woman in the world to him.
I have time with our children. I get to spend all day tickling tummies, reading stories, giving kisses and being a hero.
You’d probably give anything to be me. Eleanor’s probably off changing the world and Edward is close to a foot taller than you. You’d love to trade your weekly phone calls for my 24/7. Our kids need me. Like, NEED me. It would mean the world to you if they needed you like they need me now.
But let me tell you, you’ve got it pretty good, too.
You have that same far-off, longing look in your eye like all empty-nester moms do when they see me. They miss the little cuddles, funny things coming out of a child’s mouth, those impossibly tiny clothes. They would love to be back here, if only for a moment. You want Eleanor to wrap her arms around your legs and to have Edward drift off to sleep in your arms. Bliss, right? It is. And I love it. I understand why you miss this stage. It’s a blast but, might I remind you, it’s tough. And not just the 3 am feedings and meltdowns. All of it.
If Ryan and I have time together before 8 pm we’re dong well. I have to ship the kids to grandma’s or hold up in our bedroom to get anything done. Getting out the door with teeth brushed and make-up on means at least one child cried in a heap on the floor. Don’t even get me started on overnight trips.
I’m working hard for you. I’m cultivating our children and planting the seeds of responsible adulthood so you can enjoy them as adults. It’s a joy to know that what I’m sewing now will be harvested and it does make it worth it. So, I want you to enjoy it. You put in long hours, blood, sweat and tears. Now take some time for yourself. You’ve earned it
But do me a favor: go love on a young mom. Take her kids for the afternoon and make her family dinner. Let her know you remember that it is hard, but that you can also testify that it’s totally worth it.
And I’ll do you a favor: I’ll soak up our children’s childhood so it’s there to bring you comfort when our children seem so grown-up. I’ll store up memories and savor moments so you can recall them and maybe, just for a moment, be me again.