Empty nesting has already been a stage that I have passed through. I am the mother of three daughters, and I don’t care how old they are, they will always be my babies. Each of these girls left the home for college at the appropriate time. Two of them moved on further with marriage, my grandchildren and (let me say this was a bit difficult) moving to a different state. All these occasions are to be expected and I really am thrilled with all the new additions to my life.
Then there is my middle child. Jordan and I have shared many of the same character building events during our lives. One of the hardest and most life-impacting was epilepsy. I had my first seizure at 10. This was an age that allowed me to understand the disease and even pick up on the aura that preceded each attack. Jordan had her first seizure at 3. I knew she had experienced that aura because she curled up in my lap in a fetal position right before the seizure began in earnest. I don’t think I have ever felt more raw, frightened or helpless than I did that night. 911 was called and our town is blessed with a very caring group of volunteers that kick into overdrive when a young child is involved. One volunteer came directly to our home because he was closer to us than to the Fire Station. This wonderful group of true professionals carefully convinced me to let go of her so they could begin mouth to mouth until the ambulance came. The ambulance crew allowed me to ride up front as we sped toward the hospital. I heard myself screaming in a voice my throat only makes in complete and utter despair. Why were they slowing down and pulling off the road! This driver held my face towards his and said he needed to get in the back and help intubate her. Let’s just say, life changed for everyone in our family. My employment choices were made knowing that at any minute I could be called to the school to be with Jordan through a seizure. I just realized that I could fall down the black hole, telling you about her many stays in ICU, but I will have to do that in a different column. She outgrew her epilepsy, as I did, but that Mother Bear relationship is still alive and kicking.
Which brings me to last Saturday. This ‘little bird” has been living on her own since college, but always only 20 +/- miles east. I saved the tears for after waving her off through the TSA gauntlet towards her flight to a different state for employment. I am not going to apologize for the tears. My other children live a state away in Oklahoma. This “baby bear” is now in Alaska, where she will be living in the shadow of the tallest peak in North America, Denali (us older folks will remember this as Mt. McKinley). Jordan has definitely spread her wings.