“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.