The Empty(ing) Nest Diary begins in the days following the birth of my first son when I first realized that this particular love story didn’t have a happy ending. Though typically the “empty nest” refers to the time after our children leave, I found that the parting began at birth.
“In erotic love, two people who were separate become one.
In motherly love, two people who were one become separate.”
Letter to My Newborn Son
My first thought when they showed me your face was, “He looks familiar,” and I knew you were mine.
I’m finally holding the hand of my child, touching his feet, watching his eyes discover the world, his fingers discover my flesh.
People say to sleep while you sleep, but I can’t stop looking at you. With all of your dreams crossing your face–in squeaks and smiles and frowns, I’m afraid I’ll miss something. I’m already missing you inside.
We are like lovers, spending every hour together–sleeping, eating, showering, smiling, crying–inseparable. We are everything. An entire world. Together.
Sometimes I’d give anything to step back in time to the moment where you are placed into my arms–and stay there with you forever–like lovers who jump into the fires of hell rather than be separated.
I have always felt our separation. Loving you is filled with the pain and joy of it. Motherhood must be a series of goodbyes, each one letting go to another piece of us.
If I love you too much, will I ever be able to say goodbye?
How is it that we are like lovers, but only for such a short time? A metaphor for all human relationships and time. Motherhood is such a sacrifice and such a lesson in life–full of its deepest joys and greatest losses, reminding us that living is a blessing. What a gift you are!
I pray that you will always know my love and I yours, that our life together will not be filled with regret.
But I guess parenthood will be another lesson in love–realizing that although we have been bound in the most holy of ways–through flesh and blood and milk from my breast–we will some day be ripped apart, just as you were from me at birth; and my job, will be
to let you
(Kelly Salasin, 1995)