Cry me a river

Just so you know straight off this post has nothing to do with any song by the same name. I guess it just seemed like an appropriate title today. It’s been one of those days (do you ever get them?) when something sets you off crying in the morning and then you basically don’t stop.

This morning it was this Facebook post that set me off. As you know my kids are in their early twenties. My son is currently in Australia and my daughter is heading off to California in a few months. Like almost every mum on the planet I’ve poured everything I could into my kids – so much love and patience and encouragement. I’ve tried to teach them and train them and prepare them for life the best I could but they don’t come with a manual do they? I’ve tried to be everything they needed me to be as a mum but I’m not perfect and I’ve made mistakes and I wonder if I’ve let them down? Do they still love me as much now that they’ve grown and they know about my imperfections?

I didn’t understand ’empty nest syndrome’ when my kids were younger. I guess I always thought it would be nice to have your freedom back again and be able to do whatever you want without having to worry about looking after little ones. When the reality starts to hit though it’s pretty different. You realise that you’re not the same person you were before you had kids. Maybe your other half isn’t the same person either. You need to figure out what you like and what you want in life all over again. The house is too quiet and your friends are busy with their own lives. You have responsibilities like jobs and bills that restrict the freedom you dreamed of having once the kids were grown. I guess for me raising my kids was always the most important job I had even though I was only a stay at home mum until they started school. So maybe it’s also about an adjustment in how I think of myself.

I’m not quite at the empty nest stage yet but it’s definitely becoming more real and looking like the reality is getting much closer. I guess I’m beginning to process it now in the hope that I’ll be properly ready for it when it actually happens. To all the other mums and dads out there who don’t see as much of your kids as you’d like and wish you’d made more of the time you had, I feel your pain (if only a little bit of it right now). Change is the only constant in life as they say. Just gotta learn to deal with it I suppose.

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When was the last time?

When was the last time you rolled down a hill
Or chased a butterfly that wouldn’t stay still?
When was the last time you lay on the grass
And watched the cloud shapes slowly pass?
Who told us that growing older
Meant we had to grow up?

When was the last time you ran through the leaves
Or built a den among the trees?
When was the last time you climbed to a branch
And watched so still as everyone passed?
Who told us that growing older
Meant we had to grow up?

When was the last time you built an igloo
Or made some angels in snow that’s new?
When was the last time you got on a sledge
And flew down a hill with your heart on edge?
Who told us that growing older
Meant we had to grow up?

When was the last time you played on a swing
Or made daisy chains while the birds would sing?
When was the last time you flew a kite
And watched it soar with colours so bright?
Who told us that growing older
Meant we had to grow up?

When was the last time you just had fun,
Felt as free as a child playing in the sun?
When was the last time you did something daft
And didn’t care if anyone laughed?
Who told us that growing older
Meant we had to grow up?

I don’t want to grow up!