Thursday, May 3, 2012

Daughter's Leaving the nest, How My Mom Coped!

My daughter is 10, she is not yet leaving the nest. But, someday she will. I decided to write about this subject now while it is still fresh in my memory of how it was to leave my nest.

I am one of three kids in my family. I am the oldest daughter with an older brother and a younger sister. We are all about 5 years apart. To tell you about how I ended up leaving the nest I will have to tell you how my family dynamics were growing up.

I lived in a very rural town in Western Pennsylvania. It was a quaint little town and everybody knew everybody. My mom was a stay at home mom and my dad worked shift work at the power plant. We really hardly got to see my dad. My mom was the best mom. I was always happy to have her around and wanted her to be involved in all the activities that I was involved in. She was awesome. Anything and everything that we did she was there. Whether it was to just be in the background to support us or to be actively involved because we had volunteered her for something without her even knowing!

My mom had gotten very sick at one point in my teenage years with gallbladder issues and went to have routine surgery. She wound up almost losing her life. Now, we had always been really close. My dad always said that we had snaps on our hips because we were so close. Our closeness wasn't spoken about to each other. It was the way our relationship was. That doesn't mean that I never said or did anything that was hurtful or disobedient. I was however a teenager. Sorry Mom!  During the medical crisis that my mom dealing with, I was there for her. There I was at 16 sleeping on the floor next to the couch. Helping her up and down. Getting her food when she needed it. Changing drainage tubes when needed. This is what you do for someone that you love and I love my mom.

Fast forward about 2 years and my parents marriage had fallen apart. It was messy and sad. At 18, I realized that even though I was still feeling like a child, I was seeing the ins and outs of divorce like an adult. My mom decided to move out of state and my sister and I went with her. I could not leave my mother. She needed me now more than ever. Our adventures started out fun. A new life in a new place. I had to become an adult really fast. If we wanted a home of our own and a not just a place to crash we needed to work hard and fast. We did and we got a place. Both of our paychecks went to rent and bills. It was a struggle but that was what we had to do. After a while, I started to resent my mom a little bit. My paycheck was going towards rent and bills and gas in my car. In my head, I was being an adult way more than what my friends that I left behind probably were. They were going to college, parties, and bars. I was working and being responsible. I started making friends and  going out on the weekends but was still given a curfew. I found this unfair and thought that if I was expected to be an adult at 19 I should be able to make my own decisions and not have a curfew. After a while I made the decision to move out. I knew this was going to upset my mom. The last thing I wanted to do was upset her. I was worried for her about how she was going to make it but I just wanted to be able to make my own decisions for my own life. I had a friend that lived 4 hours away and I was going to crash there until I found my place. I had transferred my job and set everything up myself. My mom was hardly speaking to me when I had left. That was not how I wanted it to be at all. I was feeling sad and guilty because I was leaving her. It was like I was her companion and I was afraid to leave her because I knew she was going to be sad, lonely, and was afraid for her financially.

Everything worked out in the end and we speak every weekday on her lunch break.  We have talked about that time when I was leaving. She agreed that I was like a companion. She felt like she was losing control because she didn't have control of the situation. We both learned from that situation and, of course, my sister had it so much easier! We both made some mistakes I could have done things differently and she could have too. We don't get to hit rewind and play out that situation again. I realize what my mom must have been feeling and had I only sat down and talked to her and not kept my move so secretive. If I had just told her this is what I wanted to do and why. If I told her I was not asking permission but would love it if she could be involved and help me with this new adventure I was journeying out on. Maybe we would have avoided all that drama!

I know It is hard to let go. I know one day I will come back to this post to remind myself of what my daughter might be feeling and how I could do things differently.

This ones for my mama, love you!