Empty Nest Sting

I got married to have babies. There was honestly no other reason. It wasn’t love. It wasn’t a fairy tale. I wanted a baby so badly, I broke up with the love of my life that wasn’t ready and settled for the first guy to come along that was. That may make me a horrible person, but that’s what happened.

I married the guy that wanted to have a family with me. I spent some time getting comfortable with him and his family. I tried like hell to fall in love with him. I did the very best I could. A year and a half into our marriage, I decided it was time. I looked up an article on how to get pregnant on the internet and we did just that. He took a warm bath and got into bed and I got on top and surprise! Some things you read about on the internet are true.

I was pregnant. Nothing else mattered. I worked, he worked. My belly got big, I ate a lot. My mother stopped talking to me for some petty reason and I never got to do baby shopping with her, but my husband’s mom did all of that with me. She became family. I’m not sure if it was because she loved me or that baby, but I didn’t care. She was there for me and it felt like family.

I had my baby boy–the one I’d sacrificed everything for. He became my life. He became my reason for life and everything revolves around him–just as it should. He had some struggles early on that we all (my family of former in-laws and I) worked hard to identify and to help him. A year and a half after he was born, I found out I had cervical cancer. I ended up at Mayo Clinic and had a radical hysterectomy at 32. I’d left everything for a family. I had a husband and a son and my husband’s family, but there would be no more babies. That was ok. I knew it was more important for me to take care of my son. Sometimes, things really do happen for a reason.

I knew that my son needed me more than I needed any more kids. The very same day I was diagnosed with cancer, he was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism.

Many years later, he was diagnosed with Aspergers and later yet, a genetic disorder called pseudohypothyroidism. I worked, lived, and breathed to help my son. I argued with teachers, family, and doctors for him. I raised that boy so well that one day, he asked if he could leave me and move to his dad’s to learn about the things I couldn’t help him with.

It was 3 years earlier than the regular empty nest would set in. It was a time for me to be proud at how strong and smart he was, but also a time when I knew letting go of my one and only child would be the most difficult for me.

He’s still finding who he is and I’m supporting every little bit of it. But, sometimes that means I step aside and watch him become this amazing person without me.

You’d never know to meet my son today all of the obstacles he’s overcome. You’d never know by looking at or talking to him. But, he knows still that he’s different, special, loved beyond measure, and that’s the best I could do as his mom.

Now, I need to live for me. I’m empty nesting.

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