Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Inevitable

“It’s inevitable.”   Those were the words my husband said to me while he held me close as we watched our middle daughter, who is not quite 18, go through airport security and down the concourse as she headed for a month-long volunteer commitment in South Korea.  In contrast to my last post about counting down the time until we’re empty nesters, yesterday I felt the pang of children growing up and leaving home.

Yesterday’s farewell was perhaps more poignant since it was at this same airport that we anxiously waited for our daughter’s arrival 17 years ago.  She is the only one of our Korean-born children that we did not travel to pick up.  It’s a long story based mainly on my irrational fear of flying, but the result was that this daughter was escorted home by an agency social worker who also happens to be a friend of ours.  As I watched my so-grown-up looking daughter confidently negotiate security, wave and head off, I kept having flashbacks to our first sight of her, in the arms of our friend, as they came up the Jetway.  Did I know then that a short 17 years later I’d be back at the airport sending her back to Korea?  Did I realize that those 17 years would go by remarkably fast?  Did I have any idea how hard it would be to have so much pride and love and loss all well up in my heart and spill over in tears?

“It’s inevitable.”  We bring children into our lives.   They are there day in and day out.  There are frustrating times and joyful times.  Our lives revolve around kids, home and work, but it’s inevitable that the children grow up and move on.  It’s inevitable.  Yesterday, after we arrived home and the tears were dry, I truly accepted that it is inevitable, but along with that acceptance I realized the ebb and flow of my life.  For the last 35 years my husband and I have had our relationship as a base of who we are both as individuals and as a couple.  We invited children to lean on our base and now, one-by-one, they’re growing up and moving on.  What’s left?  My husband and me and that base – it’s inevitable and it’s okay.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Countdown is On

With the countdown to Empty Nest at just four years, my husband and I have been doing a lot of thinking, talking and writing about what we want from a place to live once the local school system and other kid-friendly criteria are no longer the driving forces behind our choices.  It’s not that we don’t love having our kids around or that we would have changed the parenting plans we made, but we have been at this parenting thing for a long time now (almost 31 years) and we’re ready to look forward to what lifestyle we want once it’s just the two of us.  (Yes, I know, grown kids still come back from time to time, but having an older child in the house is not the same as the under-18 age group that requires active parenting.)  So, we’ve been trying to list the most important considerations for our future home and lifestyle.  We haven’t come up with many definitive points yet.  Brian mentioned to friends a few nights ago that it would probably take us the entire four years to complete this list.  That seems mind-boggling to me – a person who typically makes quick decisions, but this topic is tough.  Other than making the initial decision to be parents, which influenced all of our decisions thereafter, this is one of the biggest decisions of our lives.  We’re planning for where and how we want to live as two grown-up, active, educated people.  We’re tossing around a lot of ideas:  water, outdoor activities, social opportunities, proximity of friends, walkability…  So far, the only definitive item on the list is that we want to be there together.