There is a loud silence in the Alcosiba home tonight, so loud, I feel it. Amongst the hustle and bustle of our normally busy home, the chitter chatter of everyone and noise of it all, the silence seems to echo. It is the kind of silence where you sit up and take notice. It’s a silence that is bittersweet. A silence seasoned with tears.
My oldest son moved out today. Its time. After all, he is approaching 27, completed his masters work, and has a professional career so the next chapter of his life had to include moving out on his own. Oh, he moved out before, nearly 9 years ago when he went off to college, but I knew he’d be back because it’s home. But this time, he’s not coming back to live and I realize, the empty nest chapter has officially begun.
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy and proud of my son because he did this on his own. He saved every penny for his downpayment, maintained the most excellent credit, waited patiently, and prayed. The door swung open the end of January and he walked right through it. It’s a beautiful brand new 3-bedroom home about 20 minutes north of where we live so he is still very close. But then again, so very far away.
Why am I like this? Isn’t this what we raise our kids to do? He mirrors everything I have tried to instill. Every prayer, discussion lecture and act of discipline has resulted in what I was trying to accomplish, so why am I so sad? Isn’t this the great paradox, we raise them to leave and then don’t want them to go.
When you begin to have children, everyone reminds of the cliche about how fast they grow-up and it’s true. Once upon a time you are handed a helpless, fragile, newborn baby boy and then just like that, he leaves. He leaves and begins a new chapter in his life, a chapter that includes significantly less of you. A chapter where the meaning of home begins to look different.
Nobody tells you about this part of parenting. Oh, it is joked about every now and again, but like so many other pertinent parts of life, nobody tells you the emptiness of being empty. I guess if they did, people may stop having children.
It all seems like yesterday. Memories are our keepsakes because they capture moments in time that were real and nobody can take those from us. But they are just memories. As generous as life is, it is also sorely painful. If I could create gift for parents, I’d make a pause button because then, I could hang on for just a little longer. But, there are not pause buttons in this life, no, it is just a fast-forward, full-steam ahead movement that leaves parents waving goodbye in the dust.
Yes, there is a silence, but how could there not be? As quiet as he is, he has a loud presence in the Alcosiba home and radiates with his every move. There’s more than an empty room. There is an emptiness in my heart.
But here’s some truth. I am learning that no matter where he goes or what he does, he will always have my fingerprints all over him. He takes me with him wherever he goes because a piece of his mama lives in him, and the ripple effect of this journey called parenting will go on and on.
Yes, my boy has moved out and it is officially on his own. And although the dynamics have changed, he will always be able to find his way back home.