A Text in Seconds

My thoughts on Sunday, April 25th, 2021…

Dear Mom, I know you’re listening from above, so I need you to know that I’m sorry for moving in and out of the house so many times, for putting you through that emotional turmoil. Although, I couldn’t have known back then what you were feeling, but I understand now. I realize how much your heart ached. The emptiness, the thought of your youngest leaving the nest. The strong wish to protect and keep me safe. I’m walking in those shoes now, dealing with the discomfort, and honestly, it’s not a trip to Disneyland. But I know in time, the discomfort will lessen. I don’t think it will ever disappear for good, but I know I’ll feel more at peace as the calendar pages flip.

Those were the days when my parent’s door was revolving – when I strived to find my way into the vast world outside of their home. Today, our youngest, our son, left home for the first time. Not for college, not for his internship, but for a taste of independence. The caveat is that his apartment is across the country. He’ll live closer to our daughter and son-in-law who also live on the east coast. And while this fact brings joy, I still wish their paths could have been paved on the west. Maybe someday. Or maybe, we’ll uproot and head east. The future remains a giant neon question mark.

The weekend prior to his leaving was spent with the three of us, my husband, him, and I celebrating this new adventure, as well as ours as empty nesters. Great food and wine, nostalgic conversation that at times provoked tears. Then today came. We knew it was inevitable. The day that he would begin his drive across country alone. Fortunately, his first day of driving would only be four hours, so he didn’t have to leave early in the morning. This gave him time to relax, to take one more look around the house and make sure he packed everything he needed, and to walk our dog with me one last time. He has never liked being in photos, but since this occasion rings differently in that he’s moving away, he conceded to selfies of the both of us once we reached the top of the hill, along with photos of him and his lab.

Then just as he was about to start his car for the first leg of his journey, we took selfies of the three of us: mom, dad, son. Smiles, funny expressions, all concealing the tears of what was about to come, the hugs and the “see you later.” Talk about emotions! But we got through it, and then we watched him back out of the driveway and wave to us as he rolled down the street, embarking on this exciting journey. My husband and I let the tears flow in the drama of the moment.

The pros of technology come in handy when our son can send a text in seconds, telling us that he arrived safely. Those few words including “love you all” with a heart emoji allows us to breathe again. That was his first drive. Day One. He’ll have six days of driving across country where the seventh will be the day he is handed his new apartment keys. A moment of joy, celebration, adult independence, but also nostalgia, knowing he’ll miss us, his dog, and his childhood home. It was tough for our Labrador because his doggie brain doesn’t understand the words his brother says to him. Giving those last hugs to his chocolate lab tugged at the heart. If only our beloved pets could speak our language. During the day, our lovable lab meandered into our son’s room. I have no doubt, he not only sensed his brother’s absence, but he sensed something had changed today. As smart as our furry family member can be, I’m sure he felt the profoundness of it all.

The quiet in the house is LOUD, but we know with time, the volume will soften into a sense of normalcy. Walking into his bedroom, the bare walls and empty shelves incite a wave of emotions that hit me like a tsunami. As we anticipated the day he would leave, we selfishly begged for time to slow down. Now, moving through the week to day 5, he is on his way to visit his sister and brother-in-law. We are thrilled that our kids will get a chance to visit. But we also wish for time to speed up, for him to safely arrive at his new home, the final stop on the road trip.

Two more days to go. I have never felt such an affinity for my cell phone before as I wait for his text messages to ping each evening. The tears flow less frequently now that he is over the hump of the week, but they’re still very much present, finding their freedom every now and then. They fall out of joy, from missing him, and from unleashing the tenacious worry. I feel as if I’m holding my breath while he continues to blaze through the many state lines. I’ll be able to exhale once he arrives and embraces those keys in his hand.

On the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, we are so proud of him, so excited for him to walk through the door of this new chapter. It’s what we’ve always wanted but knowing the moment of him leaving home would render tears and emptiness, too.

Eventually, my husband and I will embrace this empty nest for the precious gift it is to us now as a couple, and for what it means regarding our children – a gift from them as they are able to live life to the fullest in their adult years. We will find our new rhythm through the new empty nest chapter in our family story. And we couldn’t be more excited to make memories in their new homes. Let the journey continue!

I posted about this soon after he moved out, but It’s been over a year now. He’s settled into his new life and so have we. Between flights, phone calls, and texts, we stay connected. Yes, we miss him as much as we miss our daughter, but the silver lining is that they’re living their lives, spreading their wings, the natural progression of life. We couldn’t be prouder.

Lauren Scott © ❤️
If you can relate to this scene,
the “see you later”, the emotions,
and new life chapter,
I’d love to hear about it.