It’s March of 2017 and I am only months away from having an empty nest.
This September, both of my girls will be heading off to school. Aside from the dog barking at his arch enemy, the evil squirrel, it is going to be remarkably quiet in my house. As a single, imminent empty nest mom, part of me is looking forward to it and the changes it may bring me, but a large part of me is dreading it.
Raising two daughters has not been a quiet experiment! The first one, Hannah, in her placid, sweet natured, always sleeping temperament, lured me into having baby number 2. Madison in all her glory, came into the world in a fury. They were best of friends for the most part but they learned how to push each other’s buttons in magical ways and raise the temperature in the house along with it.
When you first have children, you have this very sweet but misguided notion that your children will be spitting images of yourself and your significant other.
The two of you love each other well so why would you think that your progeny would be remotely different? I remember after Maddie was born, looking at the girls and being astonished at how different they were from each other. Both in looks and personality!
Hannah was pudgy and cherubic. There was hardly a glimmer of hair but what was there was golden. Blue eyed and smiley from the moment the muscles around her mouth knew what to do.
An easy birth, she slid into the world with relative ease and charmed her fans.
As she grew, she became my hippy-dippy child. She is a highly academic big thinker and is easily distracted by dust motes and falling leaves. Now she discusses anthropological and psychological theories with a depth of ease that communicates her desire to understand the world. She has taught me to slow down and be more thoughtful and grateful.
Maddie, conversely, was longer and thinner. She had reverse highlights in thick hair that was puzzling! She had blonde roots and dark tips. But more astoundingly, she was a heavier and more solid presence on the planet. And that presence needed feeding with regularity! It seemed at times that she was permanently attached to my hip! Her quietness was short lived and she began to holler with colic at 5pm with military precision.
It made me question her genius at reading clocks at such a bizarrely early age.
Her growth brought soccer games and a force of presence on the field. She is an intimidating foe in the goalie’s net. Unfiltered, she can string profanity together that will make your eyes water. But if she loves you, she loves you fiercely and isn’t likely to ever walk away. Maddie has taught me loyalty and how to walk away from things that don’t serve me well.
For all their differences at this young age, they loved each other.
Maddie would follow Hannah everywhere starting with her eyes only, but that graduated to a short lived wobbly crawl, then moved to a running walk. This kid was constantly on the move.
The baby toys quickly made way for Barbie dolls and all their accessories. Tiny shoes and purses and the accoutrements of different careers and needs of various fairy magic littered the floor. They interspersed with the Lego that I tried to lure them with to balance this tsunami of femininity. But even that was made into tables and furniture for needy dolls. Shrieks and giggles, songs and shows and dancing displays were constantly humming in this household.
Squishy hugs and showers of kisses are tattooed in my memory from these days.
Then the competition for ear and headspace began and rules laid out for the use of headphones and earbuds as music choices went from Veggie Tales to Hannah Montana. Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez went to a varied eclectic selection ranging from Swing music, Disney music, Classic Rock and Pop and Rap. An 18-hour road trip to South Carolina can leave one scratching one’s head as the music shuffles from Mulan to Bohemian Rhapsody to some current Rhianna choice or something else that would leave me asking “Did they just say what I think they did?!”.
Oodles of bedtime stories, and reading together all snugged up under blankets and cozy in flannel nightgowns made by Oma.
I can still smell the fresh laundry and the clean newly washed hair now as I think of it! One thing now is for sure, the love for Harry Potter will never be replaced in this house. I’ll never forget my shock when Hannah came home from kindergarten with the first book half done before I even knew what was going on! The jewelry, magic wands, and wisdom quotes on the walls will carry forward in hearts. I hope that will continue on the new walls of the next home as life propels us forward into new stages. Future Harry Potter marathons, will happen, I’m sure, all-nighters with popcorn and ice cream, and frankly I’ll likely be the one planning them.
If only to make sure the temperature and noise levels continue to rise, even if it only briefly fills the empty nest in the moment and raises my nostalgia .
Did you miss the last blog? Read it here!
Have you seen how “The Princess and The Whale” came to be published? It’s a pretty cool story in itself! Watch it from here!
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