Last weekend, a friend and her husband gave a high school graduation party for their
son, the youngest of two children. He's going away to college in the Fall. She referred to the gala as a celebration of her "empty nest". I could not help but wonder....is she happy or sad about her entrance into this brave new world now that both of her chickadees have flown away? Or, perhaps she is a bit scared of the novelty of it all before her, in much the same way that women approach first pregnancies.
Will my friend spend the first few days, weeks or months as an independent woman, one finally unfettered and free of the demands of full-time motherhood, nights that went so swiftly from tending to wakeful babies to waiting up for teenagers, with a gigantic case of the blues?
Will she take the burden on alone, without locking arms with her spouse, moving from room-to-room in their home, lost in thoughts? She, never imagining how he feels. Never asking. Feeling foolish. Crying in the bathroom, for what reason, she can't describe even to herself.
Will she swear that she can smell baby powder in the air or the scent of a fresh, new Pamper plucked from a giant-economy-sized box?
Will she succeed or fail miserably in pushing aside the memory of first days of school, kindergarten graduations, Popsicle stick gifts for Mommy, school plays and the hundreds of hours of sports? Being there. Or, will she make room for and welcome new memories?
Will she feel that the years have passed by so quickly, as if they were grains of salt in a colander? Will the thought that the lives of her children will now be more exciting and productive than her own make her want to cry out loud, overshadowing the pride that she feels in their independence?
And, will she be left behind, holding an empty box of Pampers next to her heart, or will she go, cry in the shower and look forward to the day after the party?
I wonder. Was it just me?