Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Change of Heart

There was a terrible storm last night complete with rain, wind, thunder and lightning. I was about to drift off to sleep before it all started but there was no chance of that once the light show commenced.

Many years ago during particularly bad storms, my oldest would ask to sleep in my room until the storm ended. I would usually go with him to his room, because I never wanted my kids to get into the habit of sleeping in my bed. So I would take him back to his room, tuck him in and curl up next to him until he fell asleep. Then I would quietly return to my own room. As you may have guessed, those days are long gone. Last night, my oldest stayed at a friend's house. I thought about him during the storm though.

And this morning when I walked out the front door, I was greeted with this on my front lawn:

That's right, an empty nest.

Like I needed one more reminder of what I will be facing in the not too distant future.

Thankfully, I have had a significant change of heart when it comes to my chicks leaving the nest. Yes, it still makes me feel sad -- but not as much. Because I realize now the cause of my sadness. I'm not worried about being alone. I love being alone. I enjoy the solitude of my home. I like putting something down and coming back and finding it there. I'm looking forward to a reduced grocery bill, car insurance bill, phone bill, etc. No, being alone is not the issue. I was fearful about my children flying the coop before they were ready. I left my family home before I was ready and I ended up coming back and learning everything the hard way. I don't want that for my kids. Once they are gone, I want them to stay gone. I mean that in the best of ways.

So I figure the way to reduce my sadness or feelings of fear is to make sure they are prepared for what's out there. Of course, they'll never know until they are actually out there but at least I can give them a head's up.

Here are a few things I wish someone would have shared with me before I ventured out on my own:

1. If you can't afford it by yourself ... you can't afford it. - How many times have you chosen to share expenses with someone only to find out that they can't pull their weight and you were forced into a very uncomfortable position? You don't want to have to cover someone else's bills but at least you won't end up out in the street.

2. Make a budget and stick to it. Don't spend your rent money on concert tickets or the latest version of Grand Theft Auto.

3. Plan for emergencies. Tuck something away for the unexpected.

4. Plan for the future. Throw the idea of instant gratification out the window. Work hard today so you can relax later.

5. Act like you don't have a safety net. But know that Mom is always here.

I want the kids to be successful. I don't want them to struggle because of stupidity (like I did). I want them to take advantage of the opportunities that they have while they are young. I just want the best for them.


YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Awww Chele *hugs*

I'm right behind you. I'm nearly scared to blink. My babies used to camp out in my room too when we had thunderstorms. It's a lil' different now. They don't hang out in my room but dayumed it they don't try keeping ME up until it's over or until they fall asleep.

I probably would've punted that nest across the long *muttering* reminding me of the inevitable when I'm NOT READY! LOL

I know a few grown folks who need to read the part about rent vs. GTA.

Blah Blah Blah said...

Great lessons...
First one has never been a problem for me... but the rest might hit home...a little.

Empty nest...wow...symbolic but you are adjusting for that day...you got one left.

Luke Cage said...

I know a few grown folks who need to read the part about rent vs. GTA. -- you mean ME right Tiki Bear??? So WHAT???!! Okay, I shouldn't have done it. THERE! I said it. Are you happy now? ;) Nice advice Chele, and a fine post. Empty nest huh? What were the chances?

Aunt Jackie said...

i left home at 17 and my mother sat down and made me go over what real living expenses were like...i realized that I couldn't afford the orange juice I was used to drinking...i learned the hard way.

gosh i was hard headed...

you seem to be doing a bit better than my mom did though. she still has an almost 30 year old son at home!

LadyLee said...

now I wish I would've learned the same lessons too. My goodness.

Believer 1964 said...

What an excellent list of lessons learned. You'll miss the kids for sure, but will embrace the new phase of motherhood, and do well.

I tell my husband every chance I get that in ten years our daughter won't want his attention, she'll just need a ride somewhere and money.

Parents of toddlers need to realize this time is precious.