Many parents experience the empty nest syndrome as their children grow from babies to adults. As my son prepares to move into his own apartment, I am bombarded with memories of the various transitions he has made from birth to adulthood.
Before Ricky was born, I prepared the “nest” by determining which hand-me-downs he would inherit from his sister. Then I decorated his first bedroom with dark brown wood furniture and turquoise accents. A turquoise comforter embraced his baby bed while a fuzzy brown bear wall hanging with a turquoise bow gazed over his bed.
As Ricky approached two, I entered his room to find him straddling the side of his baby bed. It was time for his first “big” bed. And because he had identified green as his favorite color, I bought him a green bedspread scattered with pictures of baseball and football players.
A few years later, Ricky begged for bunk beds, so when we moved into a larger house, my husband and I bought him bunk beds. Ricky loved those bunk beds so much that he declared, “Mom, I am never leaving. When I get married, my wife will have the top bunk bed, and I will have the bottom bunk bed.” I was touched, but I knew I could never hold him to it.
When our family relocated to another state, Ricky wanted another “regular” bed, and his theme transitioned from University of Michigan football to jazz after he learned to play the saxophone and joined his school band.
Clothes and bags now adorn the floor of Ricky's room as he determines what he will take and what he will leave behind. Instead of feeling sad, I am thankful for this natural progression in life. David McNally and Mac Anderson’s heart-warming video based on their book The Push: Unleashing the Power of Encouragement (2011) inspires me by reminding me how important it is for parents to let go and to push.
I recognize that Ricky has a purpose in life, and he is ready to begin his life’s mission. I need only look at one of the many gifts he gave me to know he is strong enough to soar like an eagle.
The gift was a heart--
—a heart of steel he fashioned from his Steel Tec set when he was 8 years old.
What memories do you have of growing up and leaving the nest? This is the story in you. Share it.
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McNally, D & Anderson, M. (2011). The push: Unleashing the Power of Encouragement. Simple Truths