My daughter, Katie, just graduated from high school and will be headed off to college this summer. This is such a memorable moment in a parent and child’s life. I remember when my son, Weston, left home and think about the different emotions that came with each of these life’s milestones. When Weston left, I was devastated. I cried all the way home from College Station. Upon arriving back at the house, I sat in his room and looked around wondering where the time had gone. All the trophies and awards scattered around filled me with so many great memories. For the entire week following his move, I cried every time I passed his room in the hallway. It was very difficult to let go. And I worried about him more than I’d like to admit. But with each passing week, I grew more confident in the young adult that he had become and started to relax a little. Yes, there were still some tough moments ahead but we both lived through them and he is now a healthy, happy, and responsible 23 year old man. But since I still had a young girl going into high school, I continued on being a very busy “mom” and this was a good distraction for me. But every time I thought about letting the “baby” go I was overcome with anxiety. How could I possibly do that? I’d spent most of my adult years raising my kids. What was my “job” going to be after that? These questions practically paralyzed me. I had no idea how I was going to deal with the changes that would come.
A few years down the road, I faced some changes that I hadn’t anticipated all those years ago when I committed to being a stay-at-home mom. I got divorced. The time for me to decide what my “job” was going to be got put on the fast track. I had to figure it out a couple of years sooner than I thought I would have to. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned and we have to learn to be flexible and make adjustments. Fast forward to today……my divorce is finally complete, I’ve sold my house on 10 acres, live in a great apartment, am dating a wonderful man, and I feel so blessed to actually LOVE my job. My life is sooooooo good! I’m happier than I knew I could be.
Yes, my “baby”, is leaving for college soon. I will miss her terribly. I have no doubt that there will be tears shed when she moves. But my perspective is very different than I thought it would be 5 years ago when I started anticipating the emotions that would come with this milestone. I now know that she will grow and mature and our relationship will be even better for it. I saw this happen with my son so I’m more confident about facing this transition. I look forward to this growth. And honestly, I’m very excited about having an “empty nest”. I will always and forever be “mom” but it will be different . I will continue to care for and help my children but now I will have more time for me. I don’t truly see the nest as empty. I see it as a time of remodeling. Like I said, we have to be flexible and willing to adapt sometimes. Try to embrace every passage and appreciate what each transition brings. I have learned that if you let them, changes can bring you more happiness than you ever thought possible.