When I was a young naive woman, I thought that when your children turned eighteen years old, you were finished being a parent. At the age of eighteen, they were now adults and would fly far far far from the nest. I left home at seventeen and never looked back. EVER. Granted I did need a little help now and then, but I turned to my aunt for that. Never my own mother.
As I write this, my twenty six year old daughter is running up and down the hallway in her bathrobe with the dog. She left the nest only to return a few years later when she lost her job.
The older daughter came back to the nest only to leave her offspring as she flew off to the world. I once told her that if she was old enough to have children, she no longer needed her mother. I didn't have to be here.
I was wrong. I never knew that I would always be a mom. I didn't realize that my leaving home and not looking back did not stop my mom from being a mom. She didn't stop missing me, she didn't stop worrying - not that I gave her much to worry about.
Life turned out a bit different than I expected. Not only did I not gain the freedom from family when my children turned eighteen, my family actually increased. We loved our children, nurtured them, gave them a stable home and sanctuary. It worked for them and they stay close to the nest.
It feels kind of nice to know they still want to be around us. They still like having me as a support system when and where they need me.
With that said, starting next week, I take on the job of being grandparent full time to a three year old and a six month old. Part of me misses having the freedom to go and do what I want when I want how I want.
A bigger part of me can't wait to do it all over again.