I liken grown children who have moved out from under their parents roof to Extra-Terresterials. They no longer inhabit our world, having matured to the point where they've set their sights on exploring a new universe. But we believe they visit from time to time because things have mysteriously been moved around in their room. We try to convince neighbors and relatives that we've seen them, but the only evidence we can offer are blurry photographs and half-eaten bagels. When the beings do decide to return to their homeworld and make themselves known, they regard their 'parental-units' like specimens underneath a microscope, trying to figure out what makes us tick. Poke this, prod that, see what jerks.
I can make fun of the situation, but its anything but comical for thousands and thousands of mothers out there. When a baby leaves the nest, its one of the more impactful events of a mothers life. A child stepping out on their own moves towards freedom, responsibility, choice, adventure, excitement, empowerment, and endless possibilities. The mother is left staring at an empty doorway.
I find it odd that in the best of cases a mother/child relationship is an equation that is never fully balanced. For eighteen or nineteen years she sacrifices herself totally for her child, only to endure heartache when the day comes for them to walk down their own path. A cursory hug and peck on the cheek later, they're off without a second thought. Children cannot understand the significance of their departure, or the depths of the void they leave behind. They're not equipped yet. They aren't a parent. And not until they become a parent themselves will they understand and the equation begin to balance. But in the end it is never re-paid in full.
As proud as a parent can be I've watched as two of my own have begun to find their own way, But I've also watched how it has affected their mother, who is even prouder if possible, but she aches from an emotional pain there is no cure for. Although there is no remedy, there is a medicine that can force her symptoms into extended periods of remission. It's called contact. Phone calls, text messages, or an occassional e-mail is all it takes. I imagine its universal amongst mothers.
I'll end this post with a message for anyone reading this who has recently moved out of your parents home (hint!). Think about your mother, because I can guarantee you she is thinking about you. Your wings may be spreading and the independence you so richly deserve is building before you. New aquaintences, new opportunities, new surroundings. But every day the woman who made it all possible for you is staring out the front window where you used to play for hours with your friends, or into your empty room imagining one of the many heart-to-heart talks the two of you had. She walks amongst those memories everyday, and the longer she has to endure not hearing from you is a torture no interrogator could ever duplicate.
ET . . . Phone Home.