The Kilimanjaro of Parenting – Empty Nests.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Today I dropped my son off at his University to join up with the other volunteers climbing Kilimanjaro for Child Reach International which raises money for disadvantaged children in Africa.
It was a big moment.
A big moment for him in excitement, and a big moment in mine as my son will return a man.
The symbolism of climbing a mountain is not lost on me as I also reflect on coming to terms with empty nest syndrome and divorce. Two important life changing and defining moments in any mother’s life.
Watching my children fly the nest is like arriving at the pinnacle of a mountain. For 20 years I’ve encouraged, nurtured, nagged about eating broccoli and brushing teeth and driven miles to football training or pick – ups and drop offs. You read stories at bedtime, nurse bruised knees and broken hearts and feel needed, loved and important in their lives. So for me Will climbing Kilimanjaro is also symbolic of reaching a milestone in my own journey as a mother as I too stare out into a distant vista – the unknown part of their lives, and mine.
Life is all about handling change and it now becomes all about self-discovery. New experiences, new friends, new opportunities to explore what’s important to me and who I am now – as my role as a mum changes.
I have worked with many mums going through this transition but it is only now that I fully identify with the very mixed feelings of loss and pride. This transition and time of transformation is painful but like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis also bursting with opportunities.
I hope he makes it to the top – he’s a hero in my eyes regardless.