…the best way out is always through

“…the best way out is always through.” Robert Frost, A Servant to Servants.

Long time ago we used to have a dwarf rabbit named Bugs, the first pet our family had that wasn’t a fish. When Bugs died, Spanky cried and asked me, “Will I ever get over this?”

She would get over this, I knew she would. She was only about eight years-old at the time, would she remember she’d had a pet rabbit at all? I didn’t tell her she might completely forget Bugs. Or forget this entire conversation when she learned about mortality.

Mortality, I’ll tell you when you worry most about that.

When a child is born, parents start a countdown. I’d like to think most of us, at the very least, want to live to see our child reach adulthood.

So on Spanky’s eighteenth birthday, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. She grew up with both parents, was never orphaned. I’m pointing out Spanky because she is the youngest. I felt the same about the other two but I still had the finish line on the entire parenting thing to think about.

What crept up on me the entire time I was raising my children was the flip-side of this countdown. They’re going to leave. Go to college. Get married. They have to. This is life.

And this is where things are right now and it has my mind in a complete state of fuckery and it hurts and this was a long time coming and I know I’m being selfish…


Will I ever get over this?

Discovered this Frost quote on a bathroom wall in a bookstore near the campus where Spank is going to college when I took her to orientation this summer

This too, same stall. Walls do talk.


11 thoughts on “…the best way out is always through

  1. Kitty, it’s lovely. I know it hurts so much, but you and your family are so strong and funny and thoughtful and vibrant and you created that with purpose and love.

  2. Beautiful post, Kitty. I can hardly imagine how hard it is to feel the nest emptying. You are a great mother and I know you will always be there for her, and she for you.

    • Thanks Michele. I try to keep thinking that way, that we’ll always be together some way, some how. Facetime, Skype, Facebook… It’s better than when I left home.

  3. Think of all the beautiful things you’ve given her so far. Things she may not be able to physically touch, but they are so valuable and “big” they wouldn’t fit in a suitcase. You remember how they say that people are neither forgotten nor gone as long as they’re being carried in one’s heart?

    • “people are neither forgotten nor gone as long as they’re being carried in one’s heart?”

      That’s a beautiful way to think of it Soph. Thank you so much for your kind words. Pretty amazing the things that can fit in one’s heart, so much we have both given each other, good things for the hearts to carry.

  4. You know, I felt the same way at first when Luke was leaving home. I thought I’d be fine, because I’d raised them to be independent men and independent men do not live at home with their parents forever. So I always knew, and I knew I knew, and since it was a given, I was going to be fine with it. I’d had 18 years to get ready, right? But the day he told me he wanted to move out into an apartment, I burst into tears, stomped my feet (yes, both) and said no. Absolutely not. I told him he had to wait a year. He was perfectly capable of handling it, but I? I was not.

    Now, some ten years later, both are gone, both have families, and I have to tell you — it’s pretty wonderful. We’re close (relationship wise, not always in physical distance) and they’re these brilliant, funny guys with great families and there’s this whole other relationship that you get to have with them that is *awesome* because they become these friends–people you’d have been interested in, anyway. And you realize, later, you haven’t lost something, but have gained so much more.

    Everything changes. But that’s the good news. 😉


  5. Toni, we did the same thing when our oldest wanted to move into an apartment. We gave him a million reasons why he shouldn’t, cried, even tried to bribe him. We lost that battle.

    I’ve been dreading this for years, I’ve never lived in a household without children and I’m thinking I’ll be really lost. I’ve talked to a few of my friends who are close to their kids and they all say the same. They feared this time of their lives, that it was rough when they left, but it didn’t last long. A few months, most of them say.

  6. I had empty nest syndrome for a couple of years after my youngest left home. It does get better and all of a sudden you realise you’re still young and you have all this freedom…..

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