Guest Post — By Debbie Zipp
A look back by a “later” mom ……
EMPTY NEST AND THE TEDDY BEAR STORE
The empty nest is suddenly approaching. How will I feel? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? The answer is in the Teddy Bear Store.
My daughter just turned 21. My son is 16 1/2. I am 54. Hmmmm. Are they old or am I? I guess it depends on your point of view. But no matter what my age the empty nest syndrome is quickly approaching.
I have had to start thinking about the empty house in my future. How will I feel when their bedrooms are empty and devoid of the sounds of life of the ones so precious to me, no matter how annoying a few of those sounds are?. . . Their faces won’t be readily available to kiss, or their bodies always there to hug everyday. Or when I no longer HAVE to get up or stay awake for them, or work my day around pickups???..the list is endless. How will my heart feel when I am no longer needed in that way?? And of course there is also how I will feel about the empty nest when I no longer have to pick up theendless crap around the house and scream that I am not a servant! When I no longer have to argue about grades and responsibility and impress upon them that I am not a servant and or doormat. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
It could go both ways, I guess. However since the prices of apartments in Los Angeles are so astronomical how can a young person afford to strike out on their own? Perhaps we will end up like the Walton’s and the house will be filled with our kids and the grandkids and me and my husband and all the doggies and fishies. My husband and I will just take a lot of trips. And this too could be a good thing or a bad thing. It could go both ways. Anyway I digress.
My daughter is turning 21, and my son wants to get her something for her birthday, and he is having a terrible time at the mall deciding. Boy I hate that. Malls, teenage boys and tough shopping decisions. How will I feel about not having to do THIS anymore? Well, we passed one of those teddy bear stores, and his shopping block ended. You know… the stores where you pick a bear, they stuff it, put a heart in it and it is born? You get a birth certificate, you name it and pick a stunning wardrobe for it, and lots of other stuff, so by the time you are out of there you have created a bear that only Donald Trump could afford for his daughter. Well I watched my 6.1 ft 16 year old son pick out the bear with great care, and even the panties (about $5 for those and I don’t even spend that on my own panties!). And suddenly I saw him, with complete ease and a little gleam in is eye, turn around and jump up and down and do an entire routine, usually done only by 4 year olds, to bring the newly stuffed bear’s heart to life! That memory was instantly stamped into my brain and heart, and will live there forever and ever. THIS is what I will miss. These unforgettable moments. Not just the daily give and take, kissing and yelling, but this…these unexpected, unrepeatable delightful moments.
So even though my children are slipping away because they are maturing so fast (and that is a good thing) and will not need me in the same way (if I’ve done my job properly), they are, and will forever be, in my heart. All that they were as children and all that they are becoming are there in plain sight for me. The big memories like this or the little ones. I may have forgotten a lot at this age and I may forget more (I like to blame it on menopause not age) but there aresome memories that stick like Elmer’s. My son’s happiness when doing something special for his sister will stick. Enough will stick.
My heart is the real home where my children will always be no matter where they happen to live. I think those kind of memories rest in your heart, not your brain, because that is where they will be safe. I may have an empty nest, but I will never, ever, have an empty heart. Of course I am kind of leaning towards the Walton’s idea, and perhaps a grandchild or two (eegads! not now but later) to take, hand in hand, to the Teddy Bear store, where I will watch them dance with glee as I hold back tears of joy.
Debbie Zipp is Producer for The First Entertainment Network for Women Over 40 on the Web http://www.inthetrenchesproductions.com/. This is the site for the multi-tasking woman looking for an upbeat break in her day. Award-winning films offer a funny commentary on life after 40, or a satirical look at the economic downturn, or a commercial spoof on the obsession with looking forever young. The series episodes provide inspirational tips on sprucing up the garden or whipping up tasty treats or life lessons from the heart. So sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and take a break today.