I can feel the “empty nest syndrome” approaching. It comes and goes in waves actually, at the oddest times, and has me thinking about all that I still need to do in my life. I actually never liked the term empty nest because it sounds so negative. It makes me think of emptiness, loss, and sadness.
So instead, I like to call it “The New Season.” It sounds more upbeat, more positive and filled with possibilities. A rebirth, rejuvenation and renewal, these all come with a new season.
WHERE DID THE TIME GO?
I have been through this before when we flew my son to Wisconsin for college and helped him move into his dorm room. All I kept thinking was, ‘how did the time go by so quickly and how am I going to get on that plane and leave him here so many miles away?’ It was like leaving a body part behind. I cried so much on the way home, and for several days after that.
My daughter’s graduation is just a few weeks away and now gearing up for my baby to leave the coop. It is really true what they say, that time does fly by in an instant.
I admit that I am an emotional person, I cried at every preschool, middle school and high school function, as well as every graduation. Now I am preparing for my baby to graduate in just a few weeks. No one can prepare you for this moment. It has me thinking of how all these moments go by so quickly and here we are.
We start to think about all the things we could have done, should have said. Did I give all I could have given? Do I regret any past mistakes? It all comes down on you like a ton of bricks. I could not be happier for my kids to embark on this new journey, but I would be lying if I said this was an easy process. I also have been grieving over the fact of how much less they need me these days.
LETTING GO IS NEVER EASY
I truly believe that it is always hard to let go of something, I lost my mom to cancer over 20 years ago, and even now, that feels raw and real again. It brings back those feelings of loss, even throwing out an old t-shirt which had meaning has been tough these days. I also never like goodbyes. I am not good at goodbyes.
Being a mother has defined me for the past 20 years. I have always wanted to be a mom and I dove into it with a vengeance and it has truly defined me. It has been a gift and also the most difficult job I have ever done. AND yes we all wait for those college acceptances to come in and the sheer excitement that comes with your kid getting into the school of their choice, or their second, choice, but just knowing that it is their time to fly. It has really hit me.
Nothing about parenting ever happens the way you imagine it-including the send off to college. Sending your kids off to college is not just about them, It is also about us. It is about how we respond to this “next season” and what we will do in this next phase of our lives.
This is a time to show up for yourself in a new way that you never have before.
It is time to get to know ourselves. It forces us to evaluate what we find meaningful in our lives. Maybe we feel a loss of purpose or a sense of loneliness. But, just as we wouldn’t expect our kids to learn all the ropes from the first week on campus, we have to patient with ourselves as well. Figuring out our next step is a journey of self-reflection and reinvention that takes time.
Getting out in nature, noticing the beauty around you feeds creativity which makes you feel less lonely. Find your voice!
A lot of us ask ourselves “who am I now”? I hear this quite often. What gives my life meaning? How am I needed? So, it is a new season, free to explore new possibilities, maybe a writing class? A new exercise regimen? How about a hike in nature? It is a time of renewal of passion. The key here is to enjoy the not knowing of what’s next.
Once our kids are launched, we can focus on our own goals and dreams. And yes, I will be crying my eyes out but also know that I did what I needed to do to give them their wings so they can fly.
I miss you already.
Who is with me?
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