Saturday, April 25, 2009

When Babies Fly

My family reached a milestone last week. It may seem silly to some, but it was momentous to me. It was a small thing, that one probably wouldn't have noticed if they weren't a mother. My husband and I have 6 children. All are living on their own except for our son who will turn 13 this summer.

One of our favorite family things to do is to take day trips around our state on the weekends. We find out what is happening in neighboring towns and just go spend the day taking pictures. Our youngest son has always helped with the planning of these trips, been excited to go and often asked to bring friends along.

Last Saturday, we went the Azalea Fest in Muskogee. I wanted to try out my new camera and just get away for the day. We went with my friend Amy and her son. As soon as we got out of the car, the boys took off with their camera to explore on their own. I was so pleased and couldn't wait to see their pictures. My son is a great photographer.

Much to our chagrin, they were back 20 minutes later, ipods stuck in their ears, asking if they could go sit in the car. They were bored, wanted to go home and didn't mind reminding us of that fact for the rest of the time we were there. This had never happened before. Our son was always as enthusiastic as we were for these little trips. It was then that I knew "it" was happening.

I didn't let it show, but in my heart, I felt a twinge of sadness. I was watching my last child begin to pull away and get ready to fly. I'm not new at this, having watched 5 other children go through this process. This time though, it felt different. For 26 years, I've had one or more children who held me somewhere near the center of their universe. When one got ready to leave the nest, there were always plenty left at home. Now, for the last time, I have to prepare to let go.

I know that he is only 12 and we have a way to go, but the shift has begun. It's a beautiful transition to be a part of and observe. I'm sure all of you moms know what I'm talking about. Its that time of life when our children discover other people who they bring into the innermost part of their world. It seems, for a time, like everyone else becomes so much more important to them, and you, just a little less so.

My joy has been watching my older children, take flight, gain their independence, build their own lives and then, slowly see family become the center of their universe again. I'm alway here for them if they get tired of flying on their own or if they just need a soft place to land for a while. Holidays are the best, when they all land at home. I can sit back and watch with a heart full of joy and pride, all of my "babies" together in one place, back in the nest!

So you see, last week was a quiet, reflective and joyful time for me as I realized that my last little bird is getting ready to take flight. I am looking forward to seeing the places he will soar to and where he will land.

Oh, and by the way, the pictures that my son took that day, were of girls in their prom dresses who were there getting their pictures taken. Yep, he's definitely getting ready for flight! Thank God I have a new grandbaby!


  1. Very cool moment Erin, and better yet is your great attitude towards it all. Instead of hating the moment, getting angry at the change, you have accepted it and embraced it. You know that change is the only thing we can depend on to keep happening know matter what and you have integrated that understanding into your life. It isn't easy to do and many resist it forever. You are a special woman to not only see it but enjoy it.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Marty. I don't think I was so well adjusted with the first child! It got a little easier every time.

  3. Aww, that is so sad! Makes me want to cry and at the same time go home and hold my babies! I don't want them to grow up! :(

  4. Don't cry, Sheila. It's a great process to be a part of.

  5. That is sad. My little one will be there before I know it.

  6. This was so sad-sweet. Ditto was Sheila said. I never had babies of my own, but I helped raise 2 nieces & if I felt sad at their "flying," I can only imagine your experience...

    Bring on the grandbabies!! LOL

  7. BTW - you look SO much like your Mama, and I'll be danged if I don't see the same smile on your daughter's face when I look between the two pics. Wow. Lovely.


Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!


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