Summer of 1998, I got pregnant. Spring 1999, I gave birth to a son – 2 weeks early from the expected due date. Fall 2013, I watched him walked in to MLK High School for the first time. Spring 2016, I dropped him off to board the bus for the New Hope Black College Tour. For the first time in my life I dealt with the idea that this is about to be my life. In this series, I will expound on my feelings, changes and experiences I go through as we draw nearer to this moment. I’m about to be an Empty Nester, for real!
I knew this day would come. Hell, in those parenting conversations with other parents we joke about the day when our children leave for good and we’re “Free” again. The part that never comes up is how will we deal with that moment emotionally when it comes. Some of my friends have the joy of having multiple children so the time is prolonged until the youngest to eligible to leave. In my case, this is it! This moment comes a lot sooner for me than many of my friends.
I got my first experience to life without him during spring break this year. We decided he would go on the black college tour to experience HBCUs. I really didn’t want him to go to one in the beginning then I changed my mind. It may be in his best interest to be around “his people.” Here’s a partial look at the itinerary:
I had created a full list of things I would do while he was gone. This included going back to dance class and catching the ballet. I cooked like a gourmet chef for myself and didn’t concern myself with closing the door to get dressed or shower. This was a comfort I wasn’t use to but it felt freeing. However, I kept wondering when I would talk to him. He called me Tuesday morning while I was at work. We chatted for a short time before he boarded the bus for the day. It warmed my heart to hear his voice and see his face. He was off to see Fisk University and get on with the rest of the tour.
We texted one evening while he was on the bus and no more until he was in Ohio returning home. I felt myself becoming excited as time got closer to him being back. I needed to see him. There is definitely strong connection between he and I and it showed its head several times while he was gone. I missed having him around to talk, watch sports and do the things a mother asks a son to do. Even though, I didn’t need to take that trash out until he returned, lol. The juice stayed plentiful and my snacks remained in the cupboards all week. I came to realize he takes my mind off being unmarried, not having more children and a very limited social circle.
When he got in the car, all he could think about was Coney Island and seeing his home. He spoke to the gate that shields us from some of the Detroit ills, our building in the complex and his bed. I was happy to have him home and made note of my feelings. I’ve been his mother everyday for 17 years (minus my vacationing hours). Even then I picked up items to bring him back from my travels. Back before TSA became the CIA of the airport, he would run to me screaming “Mommy” and I would melt. He’s grown over the years and thanks to great genes and prayers- he’s become the tallest person in my immediate family. That’s huge because the tallest use to be Shawn at 5’11”. Now, he yells “Ma or Mom” when he’s trying to get my attention. He’s become a young man and I witnessed the whole thing.
Revelation: I need to create a healthy balance of activity to fill the void I will feel.