Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well everyone, the day I’ve dreaded for a long, long time is looming on the horizon. In a week’s time, I will be an official ‘empty nester’ and I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it.

I’m certain there are those of you out there who have celebrated that moment when the house becomes yours again, because doesn’t it mean that you are finally your own person once more? Someone who has been released from physical parental duty? I say physical because I don’t imagine we ever quit worrying about our children no matter what their age may be.

I’ve been through this twice already. You know the routine—you watch as your child enters the world and hope like hell you did a good job and raised a now responsible adult. But watching my two sons leave and head out on their own is totally different from watching my youngest—who is my only daughter—light out on her own.

The situation is a bit different. My boys moved only a few miles away. It was both their choice to remain close because they love the rural setting we’re in, are sportsman and never had the urge to fly far. In fact we’re now in business with them and enjoying the fact that we’re all working towards a common goal.

My daughter? Well let’s back up the train here. Twenty years ago I traveled to Bogota, Colombia to adopt a beautiful little two-year old. I won’t go into it but she had a rough first couple of years and the urge I felt to protect was stronger than anything I’d ever encountered. She was an unexpected gift to say the least. I can shut my eyes and it seems like yesterday that I walked into one of Colombia’s adoption agencies only to find this tiny shivering body who was scared out of her wits. Big brown eyes were almost unblinking as she stared about in confusion. It was with teeth gritting that I made it through that first long afternoon of signing papers and tending to political details when all I wanted to do was pull her in my arms and disappear with her.

You know, we had an instant bond. Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? But that’s how it was. That first evening I wanted to cuddle her in the hotel bed with me but instead I pulled her crib tightly against my mattress and through most of the night we simply stared at each other through the bars. I can’t tell you how my heart flooded with love in that semi-dark room as she handed me a little plastic toy with a fleeting smile she tried to hide. I think it was probably about five in the morning before we both succumbed to sleep. And ever since that first day we’ve been tight as can be and I’ve always counted my blessings to have such a wonderful little person so willing to share her spirit of life with me.

I always thought about how the day would come and she would leave but never thought that time would pass so quickly or that she would be moving across the country. So here I am, only days away from doing what I know is right but still is so hard to imagine that I won’t be able to reach out and touch her. I will support her fully. I will let her spread her wings, let her discover the world without me by her side and hope that she will always be safe. Isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do? I am so proud of the woman she has become.

To my daughter: Have a good life, have a happy life and know that I will always love you with all my heart. I will miss your daily presence, your quirky sense of humor and mostly your hugs but I can’t wait to watch you grow on your journey.

Love, Mom


Cait Miller said...

Oh Ruby, you made me cry!

Diana said...

You done good, Ruby. She's a great kid and will be a wonderful woman. I just am thankful for living in a time of air travel and Skype! I can't imagine putting my childen on a boat and watching them sail into the unknown.


Ruby Storm said...

Thanks for the hugs, ladies. I had myself another good cry. LOL - don't know if it made me feel better or not!

Ruby ;(

Lynn LaFleur said...

Your post is beautiful, Ruby. You raised your daughter to be a thoughtful, caring young woman. She'll do wonderful.

Big hugs,

Kate Douglas said...

My first thought when I saw the title was, what? Not celebrating? I remember the day I dropped my youngest off at college, with the warnings of all my friends ringing in my ears, how I would miss having a child (6'6" and 195 lbs a CHILD?) around. My empty nest syndrome lasted long enough for me to get the key in the ignition and head for home. Then I read your post and I see what you're going through with a new set of eyes--I wish you well, but be proud of the fact you've raised such an amazing and independent young woman, and that you've had this wonderful bond with her. That's something that will remain strong, no matter how far away she is. The really wonderful thing about children is that no matter how old they get or how far they travel, they're always in our hearts.

Caroline said...

Ruby, thank you for the wonderful post. I, too, am crying. What a story!!

I'm an empty nester. My youngest, I have two sons, is nineteen and has been gone for a year and a half. He's now in army reserve training and after that he’ll go back to college. I have to say his going was VERY hard!

Sounds like your daughter has had a wonderful upbringing and will sore with the eagles! Thank you for sharing your story with us all.



Titania Ladley said...

*sobbing* Awwww, Ruby! Big hugs to you. I'm sure it'll be so bittersweet to let go and watch her spread her wings, but what a kind-hearted, mature, and very responsible young lady you raised. And she's got such a great sense of humor, too! She'll do fine, and I just betcha she'll be back before you know it. But in the meantime, just like Diana said, there's that air travel thing. Methinks y'all have some fun and exciting vacations on your horizon. ;)

Give her hugs for us! No, make that hugs all around for the whole family. :D