“You’ll miss that one day,” she says matter of factly when I express frustration over my child’s behavior.

Yep, I probably will. 

In fact I know I will.

But today, I’m just trying to keep my head on straight. Today, I feel like I’ll explode if one more little hand pats, prods, or pokes me. Today, I am weary, in desperate need of a break that I won’t get, and I just had to tell someone.

I realize that you’re in the throes of empty nesting. I realize that you would give anything for a chance to relive the good old days. If you want to talk about your heartache, I’m all ears. I would love to listen to what it’s like to have an empty nest, I would love to hear your perspective as an older mother, I am eager to listen to your stories. But please, tell them as stories. Share your melancholy with me from your heart. 

You see, I want to hear your perspective, and I want you to hear mine.

I know you are long past these endless days of someone squealing “Mom” every few minutes, but right now, it’s my reality, day in and day out.

Do you remember being frazzled at being interrupted all day long? Do you remember the constant noise preventing you from stringing together a coherent train of thought? Do you remember that it’s not all cute antics and hugs and kisses?

Or maybe it was different for you. Maybe your children were more independent and quieter. Maybe you weren’t interrupted approximately 8,000 times a day. If that is the case, I can see why you miss the younger years.

I’m not there though. I know my heart will shatter when my children leave my nest, no matter how glorious the quiet sounds today. But right now I’m stuck in a mess. Today I’m frazzled and frenzied. Today I need to you see me where I am, and recognize that my role is demanding and that it’s taking everything that I have to do it well. 

Maybe you think I don’t take my role seriously, that I just want to hang it up and get the heck out. That could not be further from the truth. It’s because I pour my heart and soul into my children that I feel so drained. 

Please understand that I know that while the days seem eternal, the years fly by. Please understand that I want to be fully present and enjoy my time with my children. And please understand that when I vent my frustration to you, I am not wishing the days away, but instead am looking for support and encouragement to make these days all that they should be. 

So instead of telling me how much I miss it, tell me I’ll make it. Tell me you remember that feeling. Tell me you have my back, that you see my frustration and it’s real. A simple word or two of validation is all I’m asking.

If you validate me, you build me up, refresh me, and empower me.

If you tell me how much I’ll miss this, you negate my experience and leave me even emptier than you found me.

Please, older mom, consider your words. You are a powerful mentor with the ability to build me up and equip me for these days. Will you take my hand and fortify me for this path?

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.