Everyone cried when they said goodbye. Why didn’t I?

SONY DSCI know everyone’s talking about the new iPhone or Syria today, and this is a milestone post for me – #100, which I had intended to honor somehow, but I’m still processing and digesting the new empty-nester life. This may take a while, albeit perhaps not for all the usual reasons, so here’s another glimpse into this transition.

As fellow empty-nesters reach out to each other, share early reports of how they’re doing, relive the farewell scenes of hugs and tears, or describe feelings of emptiness or loneliness or disorientedness, I’m struck by my own lack of any of the above.  I’m left wondering why? What’s wrong with me? How could this tsunami event wash over me and leave me dry-eyed and re-energized?

Am I hard-hearted? Do they love their kids more? Am I in denial? Will it hit me later?

The answer may be yes, yes, yes and yes. But in the interim, I’m digging into this trying to explain it to myself and maybe also rationalize it to others. Why didn’t I cry when we said goodbye? I miss my chicakdees, but life is good!

because … it’s the beginning, rather than the end –the emotions bucket is all filled up with excitement and optimism for the new beginning in our lives and theirs. There’s not much room left over for the sadness attached to the endings. My default mode of operation is look-to-the-future, rather than look-to-the-past. (per 10 Things I like about being an empty-nester)

because … mission accomplished — they made it to the next step. All the hard work paid off. We coached and guided from the sidelines (and sometimes pushed, or even dragged!), and they arrived at the planned destination. Wow. This is fantastic. I’m still amazed. Pinch me – is this real? It feels like winning the parenting lottery.

because … they’re not really gone, gone, forever — without looking at the boomerang phenomenon, I trust that they will always be with us in spirit if not under our roof. Per Richard Bach “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.”

because … I stayed in my own canoe — they came very close alongside me, but we always had separate canoes. I taught them the basics, gave them some pointers, helped steer them in the right direction. We were tethered together at the outset, but they were quickly let loose to try their skills and take some spills. My canoe doesn’t feel empty now. It feels lighter and faster.

because … “a mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary” — has been my philosophy, but I didn’t have the words to articulate this until I read the quote from Dorothy Cranfield Fisher (American Writer). Teach them how to fish, rather than serve up fish on a platter forever and ever.

Why didn’t I cry when I said goodbye? The future looks too bright and inviting to me right now. Onward and upward. All systems Go! I just need to figure out exactly where I’m going. What’s the next mountain to climb? — more on that as it unfolds.

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About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
This entry was posted in Change Management, college, education, Family, Grief, Life Coaching, Life Stories, Parenting, psychology, Teens, Transitions, Women's Issues, Young Adults and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Everyone cried when they said goodbye. Why didn’t I?

  1. Tina says:

    Great piece. I like the quote.

  2. Karen Dodwell says:

    really super Lynn. seems logical to me

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Rhonda says:

    because…..you have a wonderful husband and partner in life with whom you will spend the rest of your days and now to whom you can devote more energy, time and love — together without other distractions!

    I agree with all your points — a successful job as parents, and forward looking life, and hoping your children have the same chance at success on their own as you did moving toward adulthood.

    Great job, great reflection, congratulations on #100! Love reading them!

    • lynnmorstead says:

      Rhonda, Thanks for being such a supportive and interactive reader / commentor of my blog! I really appreciate your comments. Who knew that I liked doing this so much? Onward with the next 100!

  4. Lee says:

    A lovely post, Lynn! Not everyone’s tears are right at the surface–sometimes they happen when we least expect them! Have fun planning the next phase of your life/lives–and it will be fun to share that project with you here.

  5. Good one. Love the canoe analogy.

    K

    From: “All those days that came and went …” Reply-To: “All those days that came and went …” Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 5:26 PM To: Kira M Subject: [New post] Everyone cried when they said goodbye. Why didnt I?

    WordPress.com lynnmorstead posted: “I know everyone’s talking about the new iPhone or Syria today, and this is a milestone post for me – #100, which I had intended to honor somehow, but I’m still processing and digesting the new empty-nester life. This may take a while, albeit perhaps not f”

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