Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Not Quite Empty Nest

It's a strange familial situation we've created here, with two who've already flown the coop and one who's just a peep. Most of the time I'm fine with it, because it's the natural order of things, right? They grow up and leave, and really, that's our job, isn't it? To get them ready to leave? My older two are pretty independent. They don't ask for much, but on the other hand, they're not around much, either.

They were here at Christmas, they and their significant others, and I remembered how much fun it is, for the most part, to have a house full of family. It was only for a day, though, and once they left everything seemed very quiet. This week, I've been sick, and Small has seemed smaller and lonely. She misses them, and so do I.

She voices it pretty often, how much she misses them. She'll say to strangers, "My brother and sister don't live with us, and it's very sad." I'll jokingly reply, "Agree to disagree!" But really, it is and it isn't. Time marches on, they're finding their feet, and she has a distinct advantage that neither of them had- she gets to be an only child. All of her parents' attention is hers for the taking, she's doted on as only a precocious singleton can be, but on the other hand, when the parents are working, she doesn't have the easy camaraderie of a sibling.

I miss both of my children, but I will say this- I wish MC had given us a little more time. She was so eager to be out on her own, she left the minute she could, and I get it, but I wish she understood how long she has to be an adult, and how precious the time is before that. I miss these girls:

More than anything, the absence of my big kids makes me extremely cognizant of the swift passage of time. When they were little, and things were so hectic, life seemed hard and days seemed long. Yet in the end, I blinked, and they were gone. It's a lesson to me, to make all the days count, to savor this time. This year, my Small One will be eight years old. Eight! I have no idea how that happened. It seems just a minute ago that my Oldest was eight.

I don't believe in dwelling in negative thought. I can't let myself get too caught up in thinking about the things I miss. Rather, I'll relish the time we do have together, and hope that in the future, the visits will be more frequent and of longer duration.

And in the meantime, I'll remember to enjoy the times they're here, and how much they love their little sister, who really isn't an only child after all.

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