Tag Archive | empty nest

My Badge of Honor – Still Wearing It With Pride

Badge of honor . . .

 

I am at that stage in parenting when most, or at least many, mothers are trying to decide what to do with all the space in their emptying nests. Maybe they’re gathering stacks of books they’ve put off reading, turning a now empty bedroom into a home gym, or my personal dream, a library. Maybe they’re thinking about taking up knitting or skydiving or writing the novel they’ve always wanted to write . . . I don’t know, my nest is still quite full and my little birdies are currently inhabiting any spaces that could one day become my library.

Three of my offspring are now what the world technically refer to as adults, and the youngest is mere months away from the legality of this reality, but as of yet, only one of them have spread their wings and flown away. I’m not ashamed to say I am content and okay with my nest being slightly more crowded than perhaps it should be at this point, but still, I very much want to see the beauty of them soaring one day.

It’s sometimes hard to believe I have children old enough to be considered all grown up. I remember when I thought if I heard *Mommy* being shouted throughout the house, the store, or the playground one more time I was going to change my name. I remember so clearly . . . mostly because it was yesterday. Literally. With the exception of the playground, it was in actuality, yesterday. You should see the looks I sometimes command at the supermarket.

Yep, my grown up kiddos still call me Mommy. They are bigger than me, bigger than their father, and they call us Mommy and Daddy. They likely always will and to be honest, I love that. I love it so much. I wear that name like a badge of honor.

Sure, we get odd glances and some behind the back comments every now and then, but it never bothers me, it never has. Maybe if people knew why these giant creatures we created call us mommy and daddy they wouldn’t snicker so much, maybe they would think it’s as precious as I do.

The oldest two of my former house trolls are bright, brilliant, and beautiful young men who came into this world with a few challenges. Those challenges have gone by many names over the years: developmental delays, speech delay, sensory integration dysfunction, ADD, learning disabled, PDD, OCD, ODD — the list is long. They were both eventually and properly diagnosed with autism and many of the extras which often accompany it. The younger of the two has an additional diagnosis of bipolar just for fun. It’s not really that fun.

Those boys are my heroes, without a doubt, truer than true heroes in my book. I used to think I would one day have children and I would teach them all about life and love, but it turned out they were the ones who taught me about those things. My children, all of them, have taught me more than I ever imagined possible.

I was abundantly blessed to have these amazing children who have grown into these amazing people, who strangely to some, still call me Mommy. You see, speech came late for those first two boys of mine, and when it came, they called me Mommy and they have called me Mommy every day since. To them, it is my name, it is who they first came to understand I was and they saw and still see no reason to change that. Their younger sister and brother followed their lead and I am blessed with the honor of being called Mommy.

While I do long for that someday library, I am happily okay with waiting for their wings to grow strong enough to carry them.

Crystal R. Cook