What They Don’t Tell You About Being An Empty-Nester
It started just a week ago. I found myself looking at baby pictures of my oldest, Joelle, and, I just started crying. Yesterday, I stood at her bedroom door, just trying to soak in the essence of her room. What the hey, what's wrong with me? She doesn't even leave for the University of Chicago until September! Can you relate?
So, in a quest to find comfort, I am came across this Huffington post article, "4 things they don't tell you about being an empty nester." Maybe this 4 things might help you or a friend, to know we are not alone. That this is an emotional process of finally letting go.
Here are four things to remember.
1) It can be confusing. Do you text your kid once a week, or not at all. Do you expect that they will come back for the holidays. Best suggestion, just ask them. I am pretty sure, Jojo will tell me if my daily text will be too much. Cuz, I am so doing that!
2) It can really be hard on the other siblings. That is a good thing to remember. As much as my youngest, Jacqueline, and Joelle argue a lot; but I am pretty sure they will miss those Netflix binging, on the couch, segments. One suggestion from the article, is to encourage them to communicate without you there. Although, I will probably listen at the door. I know, horrible. ;-)
3) That yes, you are a family unit, even if apart. So, they suggest, maybe do something simple the night before, get her/his favorite food, turn off the TV and just hang for a bit. Maybe even take time to talk about what an adventure this will be for all of us. That does feel better to say 'adventure', doesn't it?
4) How you're not going to be the parent you think. To quote the article: "I’ve always had this magical image of the type of parent I wanted to be, but I never quite lived up to it. In the months before my son left for college, I thought often about the wisdom I wanted to make sure I imparted as a “perfect parent.” But in the end I could never say exactly what I wanted with the desired level of equanimity. Nothing about parenting ever happens in a predictable fashion or as you imagined it — including the sendoff to college."
Love that, we are not alone and doing the best we can, if not perfectly. Now, I am going to smell her clothes!