"What To Expect When You Are Expecting" Never Warned Me About This

I remember the day I purchased the book "What To Expect When You Are Expecting"...I don't even know if new moms still read that book anymore.  But, it was only shy of three days after finding out I was pregnant for the first time till I dived into this book and read it cover to cover.  I so needed this book.  I was the pregnant woman who called the Ob/Gyn because I ate a Hershey kiss and had heard that caffeine can hurt the baby so I called the office to make sure my baby was okay. For a new mom it exposes all the exciting things that will happen inside you or it can also scare you silly where you close the book and claim that "ignorance is bliss". But in any case, this book warned of all the changes that would take place but after 20 years from the time I picked up that book for the first time...I realized a chapter is missing.
   
The book warns you about varicose veins, breast feeding and what you need to buy to when you bring the baby home from the hospital.  But, the book never mentions that one day after you have poured your life into this little human and even quite proud of the little "kingdom" you created in raising this baby that one day he will gladly walk out those doors full of excitement and hope for the future that he will build. While you are left there with just memories, left over mismatched socks and a faint of smell of his cologne looming in his bedroom.  

I was warned of the stretch marks and emotional highs and lows of pregnancy but the book never told me what it would be like when he grows up. It's such an emotional tug of war of being excited and wanting to heap in a ball of tears.  

It's this stage that we moms go through silently. There is not much discussion and there is no book.

We don't really talk about this awkward and sad stage of kids growing up because there is fear of labels or weakness.  Who wants to be called a "helicopter"' mom or can't cut the apron strings??   It's really never talked about in our circle of friends...maybe a few things here and there.  But admitting that you miss your college kid almost is like admitting you don't have a life of your own or it shows almost a pathetic side.   I never knew this taboo of this stage of life but it's all around me with my circle of friends. Honestly, I am sick of it...I am tired of talking about his major, his future co-op...I want to talk about that I miss him!  Like a deep down missing...aching like missing!  

Last night, my friend stopped by last minute, thank goodness I had soup on the stove and bread in the oven (Well of course, I did b/c we have more food around then ever since he left for college). As we talked about our sons, I was just honest (FINALLY!) that I miss him...I miss hearing his voice, I miss seeing him sit at the island, I even miss him fighting with his sisters about their hair in the shower.  I miss his sarcasm and his funny little jokes. Then she told me about when her son came home for a night, she cried (like ugly crying) when she saw her son lying on his bed in the room.  There it was...finally....just to hear her talk was almost healing.  I finally felt like I was normal(maybe) and not alone in all of this. 

Those fear of "labels" subsided as we talked.  It was almost healing and maybe finally talking about it will help me get through this very stage of parenting (until my next kid graduates).  It's like we raised the "white flags" and surrender...maybe this will help us "heal" that missing part of our hearts or at least stitch it up a bit.  

Maybe the chapter is not missing but an entire new book needs to be written called "What to Expect When They Leave" is needed or maybe just creating the freedom to share honestly about this stage of life without judgment or pity can be the answer to healing for us mommas.

And you know what is completely CRAZY in all of this....I wouldn't change a thing.  He is where he needs to be which is getting an education and making a "life" for himself.  But that doesn't change the empty feelings and all those memories swirling in my head. I want to be true to how I feel without making excuses for my sadness. Mothers in this "stage of life"....WE need to talk about it! We use to rely on our playgroups to get  us through teething, all nighters and hours of Thomas The Train. Sharing our feelings and talking about it over a cup of coffee with no kids in sight with a good friend may be the answer to navigating in this stage of motherhood.

Well, excuse me while I look at some more baby books and count down the days till I get to do his laundry at Thanksgiving...this is me and it's a little raw but it's real. 
 
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