The week Elisabeth returned to school, my friend Amy had a baby. In a congratulatory email I wrote her this:
I want one. Well... maybe not. I had one once, no, I had two. They never last. You get all used to them snuggly and cuddly and everything about them is wonderful. They have a terrible habit of growing, though. When they grow they change, and every stage is as fun and fabulous as the one before. They never stop the growing part. The body stops growing so fast, but their insides get bigger and bigger until their eyes can’t contain it all. Before long your house isn’t big enough for them and their gigantic world view. They leave the nest and take all the love you gave them in their memory. They return, but they’re not yours anymore. That’s when you realize they were never yours to begin with.Amy's journey as a mother is just beginning, while mine is taking a new path. Mothers and fathers never stop being parents, but the new path marks changes in the parent/child relationship. I noticed the first time my daughter came home from college for the summer that she was so much more independent, confident, self-motivated. Our relationship changed. She is still my daughter, but she's also my friend.
Jonathan went to college much further away than his sister did. I keep up with him through phone calls and emails. I can already sense the maturity coming upon him. He won't be home until Christmas and I'm already counting the days. But until then, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of my empty nest.