Labels for various life stages (like ’empty nester’) or for writing (like ‘indie author’ or ‘paranormal romance writer’) are simply ways of putting a framework around our world. A way of creating points or touchstones in our environment, whether we’re world building for paranormal romance novels, or simply living a life filled with inevitable change.
Calling me an empty nester – or even implying we have a half-empty nest is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, we have one child in college and one child at home, but the change isn’t all that weird for me. People ask me how I’m doing and I can honestly answer that I’m just fine. That answer shocks some and offends others, but it’s the truth.
Do I miss my daughter? Sure. But the more I think about it, the more I realize she’s been growing up and away from me since she exited the womb in a rather dramatic fashion so many years ago.
People blame my apparently easy-going demeanor on the fact that she went to boarding school the last two years of high school. And that may have something to do with it. But to really understand why this isn’t throwing me into a bottle of wine and anti-depressants, you need a little background:
This is the child who acted like birth was a trial for her, complete with a hand over her brow during the first APGAR test. This is the child who weaned herself – cold turkey – at two months old. She was ready to move on, thank you very much. If I wasn’t ready, well, I was the mom so I should be able to deal, right?
I dealt. (and hey, not breastfeeding meant I could have a little wine…)
At four, during a marine mammal show, she boldly raised her hand and with quiet determination that girl marched right out of the audience and straight up to the dolphin trainer who had merely announced a few, select volunteers would be able to meet and pet the dolphin. It didn’t matter that the trainer hadn’t yet selected her, it didn’t matter that I asked her to sit down. My baby girl was going to pet that animal.
I could list several stories from each of her formative years, but the summation is this: she’s been training me for her departure for years. She has systematically set her sights on a goal and worked her tail off to get there, whether it was petting a dolphin or getting into her first choice college.
That’s just the way it’s always been.
She’s a beautiful, capable independent young woman and while I’d love to spend more time with her in person, she’s walking her own road now, and looking forward to her next goal, doing some real life world building. She prepared me well for this day, something I’m grateful for since it means I can honestly say I’m doing great with my roomier nest.
Besides, having only one child in the vicinity means I have a bit more time to play with my fictional characters and the world building for my next paranormal romance novel!
Live the adventure!