The empty nest is something I have dreaded ever since Bridger was nearing the end of his days in elementary school. My role as a mother had defined me for so long, I worried about my future as a mother of adult children. Who would need me then? Who would want to do things with me after they were involved in committed relationships? How would our dynamic change at a distance?
As the older two moved out into the world, after a period of adjustment, I realized that the bond of mother and child does not rely on proximity. Thank goodness. They both moved far enough away that even weekly visits are not feasible. There would be no "popping by" for a chat; no impromptu meals together. With a little planning, we have been able to keep our relationship strong.
Unbeknownst to me, Sierra had been planning this past weekend for two months. Her wish was to surprise me two days before I was "going hiking in Saint George." She asked Dylan to set up the ruse of inviting me to his house long in advance for a weekend of hiking, so that she could count on my being available. Yes, I thought it odd that he chose the last weekend in May for my visit, as we usually do a Mother and Sons' Weekend around Mother's Day, but I didn't question it. When I later asked if he were sure he didn't want to come up for Memorial Day, he was adamant; no, the LAST weekend of May was the only time we could get together.
Her surprise was foiled when her dad, trying to be helpful, asked if I would be home the last weekend of May. He was trying to aid in Sierra's cause by making sure I wouldn't miss her, unaware that the kids were making sure I had plans with Dylan. No, I explained, I would be in Saint George, hiking with the married kids. When he pressed, and told me I HAD to be in town that weekend, I became more than a little annoyed. No one tells me what I HAVE to do these days. He finally divulged the best-kept secret of all: Sierra was going to be here that weekend. He looked sheepish. He had let the proverbial cat out of the bag.
After that conversation with her dad, I was hoping to force her hand in telling me herself by texting, "Drat. Our plans for this weekend fell through. At least, next weekend I'll be in Saint George, hiking with Dylan and Jamie."
"Dad already told me he told you," she replied. She was crestfallen.
I told her not to give it another thought. I LIKE knowing things in advance! I'm the one who opened all of her presents before Christmas, and re-wrapped them. I loved that the ultrasound revealed the gender of my last baby, so I could make plans. It's a surprise right up until the moment you know, right? I was just thrilled she was coming.
The weekend couldn't have been more perfect. This year's Mother and Son's Hike included Jamie, Sierra and Jason, too. It was a BONAFIDE Mother's Day Hike. It is such a rare treat to have them all home at the same time.
|My Pride and Joy...these five people.|
The element of surprise is overrated, in my opinion. If a surprise happens one day, instead of two days later, does that lessen the surprise? No, I say, it does not. A surprise is a surprise. And it was the best surprise of all.