Monday, November 24, 2008

I can face anything! Almost.

My parents were divorced when I was 11. I was pretty determined not to do the same thing to my kids. That's the way I looked at it
too, divorcing was doing something to my children. When it happened, the day we told the kids was the worst day of my life. That still stands.

I don't remember exactly when my family started spreading out. My sister moved south to West Virginia with her family. My oldest brother moved to California with his job at an airline. My other brother at some point - moved to New Jersey. I wasn't close to my dad and I was married with children by the time he moved to Nebraska with his wife and child. But before he moved - my
mom moved out of state. I was literally the only one that stayed in the Midwest in the suburbs of Chicago where I was raised.

Since it ended up that I had no family close by I relied heavily on my in-laws to be the nuclear and extended family I had always wanted my kids to have. My husbands parents were (and are) still married, my sister-in-law was married with 5 kids, my brother-in-law was single and still living at home. There was a great-grandma, family friends, and aunts and uncles. On holidays everyone came to "Grandma & Papa's house." There was always good food, noise, and complaining about the men watching football while the women cleaned up. Like any good American family.

So it was that after the divorce, even though I told my ex-husband that he would never have his kids on Christmas morning (anger, much?) unless he came to my house, I encouraged my kids to spend every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinner at Grandma & Papa's house. And they have, unless for some reason Grandma & Papa weren't hosting a dinner that year. I can count on one hand how many of those holiday dinners that I have spent with my kids in the last 10 years. And that's been fine with me. I usually relax, have a nap which is an integral part of any holiday, and if I haven't cooked myself - they have always brought me food. I got the gain - without the pain!

People have doubted whether I minded staying home but I never have. I felt good believing I was doing what was best for my kids and really - I am very comfortable with my own company. Right now though, I feel a funk coming on. Not because the kids are going to their grandparents house for Thanksgiving. But because I am finally starting to realize that my kids will actually be leaving to lead their own lives not too long from now.
That's what we raise them to do, to go and be independent and successful and happy out there in the world.

But I'm not ready.

I'm not ready at all.


Lost A Sock said...

How incredibly selfless of you! I am in awe that you would do that for your kids for all these years. What a great mom you are!!

Yours are getting ready to leave the nest as my nest continues loading itself up (no more, I tell you). As we put up our family Christmas tree the other day, the boys yanking their ornaments off the tree as fast as we could put them on, I told Kevin that we would probably someday miss this sort of stuff. It goes fast, I guess.

Braja said...

Oh, Bette Jo that's so touching... I hope you don't hit that funk you feel coming on...really....

Diane of Crafty Passions said...

Its always a shock when kids leave home for good to fly on their own.
I so missed my kids, then you realize hey ... I have a life too and start enjoying it.... then your son comes home to live and its just fine, then your MIL moves in and all hell breaks loose, my quiet time has gone to hell in a handbasket,my daughter still lives away she is single and I miss HER so much, she can make me laugh like no one else.
Your story touched my heart,don't funk out, kids always come home for Mom, they always make time for Mom believe me.You always get back how much you put in.
Take care

LadyBanana said...

You have done so well by your kids, you should be proud of yourself!

It is very hard when they all leave home, my son is the furthest away in Dubai and I miss him soo very much.

But, I've become used to it (almost) now and they do come home regularly.

Also, it's not as bad as when I left home as we now have mobile phones and webcams to keep in contact!

Keep your spirits up and be happy you have bought up such lovely confident young people!

The Beading Gem said...

It really is hard having raised kids for so many years and then watch them fly the nest. But they will come home to visit and gladden your heart!

BetteJo said...

I'm no hero about all of this, I wish I could say that. I just felt they needed the family exposure they weren't getting from my family. But really - leaving the nest I think I will be reasonably okay with, but the leaving the nest and possibly the state - (God forbid all the way to Dubai!!!) would give me a much harder time.

But - they have to fly now don't they?

Lavender said...

Sending hugs your way, just quiet hugs.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

That's great that your in-laws still wanted your kids around. My in-laws have never spoken to or contacted my kids, now grown, since my husband ran off 20 years ago. Said they weren't "really related" anymore and to stay away from them!!! So you have some fine in-laws there!

Robin Marie said...

I'm the most negligent blog reader ever! Thus, my comment comes late, and I don't really know how to say what I want to say.

I feel confidant saying that Dani and I are a lot alike, and that we will always be close to home even when we are far away.