As an Empty-Nested parent, I have many regrets, but I am eternally thankful that wishing my kidlets' childhoods away isn't one of them.
I was never the mom that couldn't wait for the kids to leave home. I was never the mom that shouted, "Why don't you grow up???" I knew somehow, even then, that while the days were long, the years would be short, and I determined to enjoy. Or at least to endure if enjoyment eluded.
Looking back, which I do with regularity, I often find myself wondering why I did this, or why I failed to do that. It is a mystery to me today, looking back through the years with the clarity and wisdom of hindsight. Whaaaat in world could I have been thinking????? Only God knows, at this point. Only on my behalf may I say that sometimes I was so mired down I could just barely manage to function. I spent years when my only feeling was "Overwhelmed." I felt Overwrought and Overtired. Overrun. Overworked. Overdone. Overused. And all the time, the kidlets were growing up and away, surely and unstoppably dragging me closer and closer to the Empty Nest. They grew into every parent's dream. Sensible, responsible adults. Contributing, productive members of society all. I am soooo proud of them. Honored and flattered to be their mother. And if I am honest I have to own up that they succeeded in spite of me. That's a humbling thought.
It took 35 years to see the process completely through, but sure enough, one day, the years ended. And the kidlets were gone, to be replaced by those remarkable men and women.
Me...I find myself unshakably bonded with Christopher Morley, the man who confessed, "We've had bad luck with our kids - they've all grown up."