They come into our lives with ferocious force and inflict such bodily harm that a mother can never forget the day their child was born. The moment is seared on your memory with the same tenacity that the child leaves your body. They are such cute babies and adorable toddlers then they become bright school girls or boys before becoming strange teenagers. You feed them, you nurse them, you nurture them. I remember with fondness when the youngest at age eight, looked me straight in the eye and said 'Mom, I can't wait to become a teenager so I can drive you crazy!' How was I supposed to know it was a prophecy? Now my son is a man and as I watch my daughters become young women a new fear grips me. Soon they will all leave home and go off into the world. When they went away before their absences were short and I never rearranged my life. Soon they will become visitors in my home, their first home. I will downsize from family-size to 'single again!' I can't even remember what it was like to live alone. I recall fantasies about 'getting my life back' after the kids leave, but now the idea is daunting.
At 50 I know the empty nest is inevitable but I will still not be ready. I will miss their love around me, even the arguments and battles. Raising kids as a single mother is hard but it is not that bad in hindsight