The Empty Nest

My 15 year old son, Walter, is making holes in the nest I've built around him.

I've brought three people into this world with the sole intent of letting them go. I've been trying to hang on to this one a while though. Its not working. Doing my job well means that in the end, my job is downsized and eventually dissolved.

I look at him and I long for the 8-year old boy who would look at me in sheer adoration instead of judgment. I miss the 4-year old who would literally jump into my arms and cover my face with kisses. What happened to the 12 year old who brought all his confusions and mysteries in life to me for explanation and coping skills? There is this man hanging out at my house now.

He needs to shave.

"Because I'm the Mom" is not an acceptable response anymore. He asks deeper questions and questions my decisions and whether or not I am misusing my authority, even while he remains respectful of it. This young man is making me question myself and my motivations. I am not always pleased with my findings.

I have been doing the *Mom* thing for so long that I do it by rote. He makes me think and moralize myself like a couple other people once did.

Walter reminds me of another young man who once lived here and idolized me. That young man moved away and runs his own life now. He doesn't really need me, only my love now. I had great feelings of pride and relief the first time I went through this. I had done my job, fulfilled my purpose. It was no longer my personal responsibility or financial responsibility to take care of him 24/7. He could do it on his own because I taught him well. Richard was always a good boy and now he is a good man.

Walter questions me much like his sister once did. I do love those questions even when I am annoyed by them. Profoundness of thought. Thinking outside the box. I taught her that. It was and is one of the most passionate relationships of my life. Mother/Daughter. So alike and so different. To see my own face, like a conscience, arguing everything I thought was true and winning as often as not was to say the least, unnerving. Cecelia came into the world and left my home in the most original ways possible. I felt pride and relief with her as well. She was so powerful and still so feminine. I taught her well. I also felt a certain loneliness. I began to talk to myself a lot then, but it was in her voice. 

My two oldest kids were like night and day, in personality, in looks.

Walter is some weird combination of the two of them. As long as I've had him around I could relive parts of life with them pretty easy. My nest felt a lot larger after the oldest two grew up but never as empty as it is beginning to feel these days.

I find that when I look for men to date that children or grandchildren are a big plus. I don't want motherhood to end. I want to keep my finger in the pie.

Its not that I don't appreciate and enjoy my newly found freedom. I do. I love not having to hire a babysitter every time I need to leave by myself. I love not having to worry every time I lam not the one in charge of them. Its nice not to have to do the constant reminding..."Did you remember to use the bathroom and wash your hands before we leave?" "For the 30th time today pick up those damned toys before I break my neck!" "Be good and Mama will bring you a surprise when she gets home". Those days are over. Now my only reminder is for Walter to make sure his phone is charged on the off chance that he might need me and the more likely scenario that he needs more money or food. "Remember what I taught you baby....make me proud" I never say that. I hope it every time he goes through the door as the time gets closer and closer to the time he will walk away and mean it. All those lessons have become very important.

I can't babysit a near-man. He has to remember my voice in his head.

Lord I hope this one takes his time.

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