8:55pm , 17th November 1996 I am holding her in my arms, just staring at her, she's mine, she's mine, she's mine. Am I really a Mum? Look at her she is soooo beautiful, her smell oh her smell, I can not get enough of her, wanting to never let her go.
20 years later, I hold her hand and let her go. She is all grown up now and has left home. We raised our kids to leave us and they are.
He is my little boy, my youngest, my sweet wee man. He is 18 now and getting on a jet plane to join the Air Force, bye my son, bye my wee man, who I used to hold in my arms.
I am crying, sobbing I know they have to leave us and we want them to but they are my babies. They have to go, they want to go. I see them with excitement and adventures in their eyes, mine just fighting back the tears that I can't show. My heart hurts and sings at the same time.
My emotions are all over the place, anticipation and excitement for them, and for us for our new adventures but it's a struggle to see the rooms empty out.
Apparently this is called empty nest syndrome!
I look at all the blogs, social media, magazine, TV shows, You tube channels focused on raising children. There is so much support and information out there now, it's great, especially for new Mums as it can be a lonely job. However there is not a lot when it comes to the other end of parenting, letting them go. Apparently the average age of children at home in New Zealand is 27!. I could not believe that, a fully grown adult still living with parents at 27.
So why at the age of 20 and 18 are our children leaving. It's simple really because they are adults and they need to be their own people have their own lives and most importantly take responsibility for it. When they were young we decided what sort of adults we wanted them to be and some of the characteristics they would need was independence and resilience. They had to learn skills to run their own lives, and it's sooo easy to run it for them and they will let you too. As a parent saying no and making tough decisions is very hard and often it is easier to fall back to doing it for them, or as Mr Dad would say, "you are enabling them"
Ms 20 left home to go flatting at the start of her second year at University, she was actually 19. We live in the same city so she could stay at home as most students do. However she needs her own space and place to spread her wings. She worked hard and saved all her money to have a cushion behind her to go flatting. She is a full time student as well as working to cover all her expenses, she is not financially dependant on us.
Mr 18 is the same, having worked in school holidays since he was 15. He brought his first car and covered all running costs at the age of 17. The last 18 months have been dedicated to getting accepted into the Air Force, the goal which he achieved. He is also independent and not financially dependant on us and can't wait to get on that plane.
As parents this is the type of adult we wanted our children to be, we love to see them succeed on their own and not need us, no matter how painful that is because that is our job, to be parents. To show them the way to the door and watch them run out it into the sunshine!