A Dose of Gratitude As They Leave Your Nest…For a Day, a Year or More

I just had a talk with my son. A talk that somehow, 21 years ago when he was yet to talk or to be fully potty-trained for preschool, I did not imagine I would have. But more on that and how it inspired this week’s blog post in a bit.

This week, amidst so much noise, turmoil and angry “voices” that could be heard both audibly and from the fingers that so readily posted across social media outlets, I found my “feeling of the week” and, quite honestly, my peace, in GRATITUDE.

As you know from last week’s post, as well as my 2016 post, Someone Turn That Noise Down, I approach my life and the world with as much optimism as possible and when that is challenged, I embrace social media posts about great food, cute puppies and precious kid photos. I assure you, I am not choosing to escape any realities. Honestly, there is so much noise that I can’t figure out who’s “reality” is true. I only know that I am accountable for my actions and behaviors and I am responsible to my children, as their model, to ensure that we live our lives color-blind and without racism, bigotry or hatred.

But since I don’t like to talk politics, let’s get back to those social media posts and my son’s phone call.

So, as I perused thru the multitude of back to school photos, I found myself grateful for so many things. In every photo, in every post, I found a memory of my own that made me smile.

As I watched new Kindergartners leaving their Mom’s side for the first time for 5 days a week, all day school, I was grateful that both of my children had experienced an excellent Kindergarten teacher, with the perfect mix of nurture and promotion of independence. Out of the nest they flew that first day, with the whole world ahead of them…and I was grateful.

As I watched a few kids proudly sport their new Driver’s Licenses so that they could drive themselves to high school on the first day back, I laughed at all the angst getting those licenses had caused me and the lessons – sometimes hard ones – that each child had learned in those early days of driving to school. Out of the nest they flew, with the whole world ahead of them…and I was grateful.

Oh, and those “moving them into their first dorm at college” pictures. I can almost hear the muttered cries of my dear Mom-friends who are hugging their “babies” goodbye until Parent’s Weekend or holidays. I still remember my own tears so vividly. But the dorm rooms were beautifully decorated, the now-college-freshmen were all beaming and I knew that these kids would be okay, just as mine had been. There would definitely be life lessons along the way, but that would be okay, too. Out of the nest they flew, with the whole world ahead of them…and I was grateful.

On Friday, I hugged my “little girl” goodbye, as she headed back to school for her senior year in college. We had enjoyed only 2 short days together, but in a mere 48 hours, the change in her was evident. We talked about these “white nationalist” rallies that had occurred, one of which was potentially slated to be on her public campus. I cringed in fear of the thought of my daughter and her friends counter-protesting and found myself encouraging her to stay indoors that day. But as she talked about the potential “human maroon wall” to block the rally, if it happened, I was grateful. Grateful for her belief system, grateful she had listened to the lessons life had handed her, grateful she was mine. Grateful for our experiences together while she was in my nest, and even more grateful for the life she was creating outside of it.

On Saturday came the call from my son. Now out of college for almost 2 years, his job is taking him to a new level, new opportunity and a new city. Not sure in which city he will land, but his top choice as he moves thru the process, isn’t close by. Not even in this state. But as I listened to how he was approaching the process, his pros and cons for each potential location, his dreams for what he wanted to accomplish and his strategies for getting to those dreams, I found myself completely in awe.

And grateful.

Since that first day in Kindergarten, my “little boy” has left the nest a multitude of times. In every one of those instances, I have shed a tear or two (or a bucket…who’s counting?).

In every one of those instances, he has gone on to experience new things, new people, new opportunities. He has taken what I taught in the nest and applied it to his own exploration outside of the nest.

Before I hung up the phone after a conversation in which he talked more than he ever has with such tremendous excitement (and a bit of stress), I did the same thing I’ve done every single time he has exited the nest: I assured him that he’s got this, I told him how proud I am of him and affirmed how much I loved him.

Out of the nest he is flying, with the whole world ahead of him…and for that, I am truly grateful.

The world is not a horrible place. The sky is not falling. The best gifts we can give our children are optimism and encouragement. Amidst the chaos, the noise and the hatred, give them love and model kindness and gratitude.

That is what the strongest wings are made of.

 

Note from the SHE Files: Gratitude builds strong wings

 

os, the noise and the hatred, give them love and model kindness and gratitude.

That is what the strongest wings are made of.

 

Note from the SHE Files: Gratitude builds strong wings