- An empty nest doesn’t have to be negative. Think of it as an opportunity to fill it with new and wonderful things. My sister and I are joining a cake-decorating class at Michael’s and I’m excited to bring home new gadgets to try out in my kitchen. (Pssst. Don’t tell my husband ;)
- Being a parent doesn’t end when your child is eighteen. Danielle still needs advice and help. The only difference is that I offer it when she asks rather than jumping in and taking charge or assuming I know best. For example, bees kept coming into her dorm room (which we have nicknamed The Apocalypse- lol) and my husband talked her through the right channels to take care of the problem. Our job as parents may change, but it’s never done- and thank goodness for that!
- My identity is still the same. I don’t have to be a hands-on mother to be me. If anything, having this time on my own is giving me a chance to get back in touch with myself- my new self- who is older, wiser, and eager to meet the future rather than dwell on the past.
- Just as ice is still water, a separated family, though reconfigured, is still a family. That is a constant I can count on no matter the time or distance.
- I haven’t lost a child, I’ve gained an adult whom I’m so proud to have raised. No mourning the “loss” of the kid she was. I’m celebrating the person she’s becoming. There are lots of ways to contribute to society and raising a compassionate, respectful, conscientious person is giving the world a great gift. At the end of the Steve Hawking movie THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, he and his ex-wife look at their children playing in the palace gardens and he types: Look what we made. It was such a poignant moment because even a man as great as Steve Hawking knows that raising amazing kids is a far greater achievement than even solving the origin of our universe.
- I can master new technology. For example, I now know Skype isn’t some complex technology only 35-year-olds and under can comprehend. It’s just an app on my computer that lets me see and talk to my daughter every day. And yes- Danielle got a big chuckle when she helped Greg and I bumble through setting up our account. But now, I have added three cousins, both of my sisters and a friend from high school to my new Skype list and can talk to them, too! So happy to have learned this and renewed and strengthened connections with other loved ones.
- Change is frightening but, survivable… even something to be celebrated. There is no milestone or Hallmark card to acknowledge or congratulate us on having successfully reared a child, yet there should be. This is a big transition and one worth some kind of shout out… so I’m giving one, right here in this post, to all the moms and dads of adult children. Let’s be proud and happy about all that we’ve done and will continue to do.
What are your thoughts about the “empty nest”, whether it’s in your future, present or past? If you have a chance, I would love hearing from you in the comments section below. Thanks!