It took me a long time but this summer I finally said, “I miss my kids.”
What kind of mother doesn’t miss her kids? I guess this kind.
My two wonderful daughters live in New York City while I am a short drive away in suburban New Jersey. They both graduated college, have good jobs, and have healthy relationships (I am knocking on wood while I write this, I have learned you never know when the other shoe will drop). What more could I ask for? If they’re happy, I’m happy.
There was no sadness when they no longer lived with me.
Very Long And Hard Years
We lost my husband in 2011. The ten years that followed were the most difficult of my life. I grieved. Our daughters grieved. But that wasn’t all.
Life was hard. My oldest went through a horrible battle with anxiety and depression. It was life-shattering, and she recently let me know that it was worse than she even let on. My sole focus was taking care of her and making sure she made it through that time in one piece.
She finally came out of the dark in her later high school years but that wasn’t all. In an effort to “be like everyone else,” she chose a college that was the wrong fit. Three weeks after the worst move-in in history, she came home and took a semester off. I was terrified we were back at square one.
Thankfully, her next choice was a better one. She moved to NYC for school and finally felt confident and happy.
That was when my youngest went through her own bad period. As an elementary and middle schooler, she was practically the perfect child. Well behaved, super-smart, and more friends than you can imagine. High school changed some of that. My daughter lived the “After School Special” of being dropped by her entire group of friends. Watching her sit home while seeing her former group partying on weekends was heartbreaking.
Then she also had a college misstep. Her “dream school” was not the dream she had hoped for. But that was when the world shut down.
It Was Impossible To Miss My Kids During A Pandemic
My youngest was thrilled when her school closed and she came home to finish the semester online. So did her sister and her girlfriend.
My very short-lived empty nest became quite full. In most ways, those months were wonderful for our family. They did school from my house while I did the same with work. Then we had fun.
We cooked together, played games, did a million puzzles, watched movies, took walks, and drank just a little bit 😀. I loved having them all.
But…they aren’t the neatest bunch. My house was a constant mess, there was a lot of arguing, and no one helped me with the dog. I even put a set of “house rules” on the refrigerator, but they were not followed.
All in all, I treasure that time with them.
When it was over, my oldest moved back to the city with her girlfriend, and my youngest started fresh in a new school, also in NYC, which she loved. They were both in a good place. Ahhhhh.
I Didn’t Miss My Kids…Until Recently
Most parents cry when their children move out on their own. I cheered. Bad mom?
I don’t think so. I was finally able to breathe. The girls were doing well, and I felt the tension that had built up in my body for so long finally begin to release.
My house was quiet. I watched what I wanted on TV. I ate what and when I felt like eating. My house was neat. Even my dog was more relaxed. Most importantly, I could go to the bathroom without someone knocking on the door!
We Facetime practically every day. Sometimes more than once. We are as engrossed in each other’s lives as we ever were. Plus, they live so close so I still see them often. The three of us are super close. I adore them. I just didn’t need them under my roof.
This summer, I finally felt a little bit of a longing for them. Because of our schedules, I went from mid-July to Labor Day weekend without spending any time with either of them. For us, that was a long time. As the weeks went on, I felt something strange to me. I missed seeing them. I missed spending time with them.
I knew they were coming home last weekend for a wedding. I couldn’t wait. It was too long between visits. I finally felt what other parents must feel.
My girls noticed I was happier to see them than usual and commented on it. We had a wonderful few days together.
I cannot lie. After five days, I was ready to be alone again. I had my fix, and now I’m good. But I am also happy we will be together again in less than two weeks. Perfect timing.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.