GOOD PARENTS PREPARE FOREVER TO LET GO
The nest is emptying – and I don’t want it to and I do.
The last child, Daughter R, will be back Sunday, but she’s leaving – for good – and I’m weepy.
Two states and a four hours long car trip will separate us.
She moves from the friends she’s created here to the ones near her college in Troy, NY.
She’ll be fine – but I will miss the heck out of her, even as I know she has to do this, and she’s happy.
Her room is a mess, my assistant is probably not going to be available to help, chinchilla Gizzy’s room is still full – drawers and closet and shelves.
There is still plenty of her STUFF – garage, basement, two bedrooms, even kitchen – but the decision on both sides is that it will all be gone soon.
Home will be no more
So we can sell this house we’ve been in since 1981 – and move on ourselves.
She won’t live in this house any more – and I, who can’t even get around in it or the garden any more – can’t stand the idea.
So much unfinished stuff when the last child leaves:
and a whole life.
Her two older brothers have long taken their belongings with them – there are few reminders of their house-filling stuff.
Only a trace remains of the homeschooling years when I gave them all what CFS had left me.
Today was the day she chose; she’s sticking to it
She is better (except she has a cold today) than she’s been in a long while. She packed most of her stuff – except for the desk – herself into the car. MY car. We haven’t worked out that part yet.
She is going to a house with kittens – and will have to worry about allergies and breathing and sleeping.
She is a grownup.
I don’t know what I am any more, and it scares me some. For the longest time I’ve been her accomplice and helper for the sleep stuff – and now that’s her problem and not mine.
I don’t think she’s finished – no one really ever is, but there is so much she never found time to listen to that I could have taught her.
In many things, she has far surpassed anything I have done.
‘Home as prison.’
She’s been in a prison, benevolent, but still caged. I didn’t want to go home when I was her, but I was the oldest, and Mother was very busy with the rest. I didn’t want to be depended on to help her.
Gizzy is mine every night now – after all the help R gave me these past two years and more – and we never got a video of Gizzy following R’s instructions. Put it on list – she’ll be back Sunday. For another load. She has too much stuff.
I’ve been here, conscious of her, since she came home two years ago, defeated by the unknown sleep problem – and she goes now to where she should have been then. I don’t know if we COULD have solved it earlier – maybe a bit, but not significantly.
We did everything we were supposed to do, regular sleep doctors, psychiatrists, therapists – and it didn’t work.
I’ve written about what it took to find out what was wrong
Because it was never those things: it was a rare disease (Non-24 Sleep/Wake Disorder, one of the circadian rhythm disorders like shift work disorder but not quite), and not a mental problem or a lack of motivation.
Dealing with Non-24 SWD
She knows how to reset now, supposedly, and what to do, most of the time.
On vacation she was up – unheard of – before 10AM every day, earlier other days. Lots of exercise, lots of sun – and usually falling asleep before midnight.
She needs ten hours sleep – the far range of ‘normal’; her rotating sleep/wake schedule is more stable; but unlike most humans, she will have to monitor it and defeat it every day.
With a beta blocker which turns off melatonin production during the day, and a dose of melatonin at night to get it started up again. A small dose which should be taken four hours before bedtime.
But sometimes isn’t, for a very responsible reason: she doesn’t want to be in the position of driving after taking it.
Now she has to manage it without backup from parents – but depending on friends, which isn’t a bad way to go when you have no girl-siblings and a lot of girl-friends.
I have had a child in the house for thirty+ years. Now what do I do?
I want to be her. Free. Starting life. With no responsibilities for others yet.
I want to be free to be me now.
Having your whole life ahead of you is scary, even with backup – losing your children is hard.
What we have children for
I’m not losing her, and I’m not ‘letting her go.’
We’re completing a process I undertook the minute she was conceived: getting her ready to be an independent adult.
I KNEW my kids would be scattered by being what they are, following jobs, school, families of their own – I was right: San Francisco, Houston, and now Troy.
The ride has been magnificent.
I am unbearably proud of her: she toughed it out, kept trying even as it affected everything she attempted to do. She never turned to the traps that catch so many of our young. She kept up with her friends and her family and her dreams as much as she could, and now goes to realize them.
She will be fine.
I will miss having her here every day again – but only because she will always be my little girl.
We will survive – and I will get back to the writing.
And the rest of MY life, the lurking scary thought.
If you have kids, are you prepared to let them go?