We’ve been Empty Nesting for 6 months.
Being the parent of one child, a daughter, I can say that my expectation of her leaving home was basic tragedy. I mentally prepared for my undoing.
It did not seem right to be an empty nester at 42 years old.
My parents divorced after 35 years of marriage.
I am an only child and have delightful memories of childhood. We moved a lot. My dad was a high school football coach and every 3 years we left in search of a larger school or a new challenge.
They were young when I was born.
Like, there’s a picture of me cheering for my dad in his college yearbook.
Our life was an adventure and I loved it.
I cannot exaggerate what a surprise their divorce was to me and to those who knew them.
The details are not mine to tell. But if their relationship could fall apart after 35 years, then my marriage was no longer safe.
I often look at parents of multiple kids with awe. I don’t know how everything gets done. I don’t know how schedules are managed. I don’t know how you stay on top of the details. I also don’t know how you feed them.
I often look at parents of multiple kids with envy. When one leaves the nest, you cannot completely fall to pieces because there are others that have to be parented.
I prepared to be in pieces.
We enjoyed raising our daughter so much. The fun times and the frustrating times. The moments of pride and the moments of tears.
Always knowing that it was only for a season.
There are really cool things about having a grown up child.
Conversations are good. Even (maybe especially?) the ones that challenge.
Time spent is appreciated. I am savoring every morsel of quick meals and weekends home.
For the first time in my parenting life, I am ridiculously grateful for texting.
There is freedom and joy in watching them become who they are.
Investing in your marriage pays off.
True confession: We didn’t do date nights. Y’all. We’ve never been on a trip by ourselves.
But we talked. And we listened. And, when necessary, we course corrected.
Our investment has been a little bit every day and never a big deposit at one time.
So now we are getting to do the things we’ve never done.
I guess every night is kind of a date night.
We are finding things that we enjoy. Even if it is just a new *Netflix series.
We are only 6 months in, but here’s what we’ve found to be true.
If you let go a little, they’ll want to come back. If you hang on tight, they’ll do what it takes to create distance.
When your kids are little, don’t wish the days away. They will be memories way too soon.
But when your kids are big, don’t fear what’s ahead.
Your job is to raise them, not to keep them.
This is not a tragedy and we are not in pieces.
It is just the new season.
*Watched To Date:
The West Wing
Gilmores (Do not watch until after you are at peace with your daughter leaving)
Hart of Dixie (I watched in headphones while he made spreadsheets or something)
Justified (He watched in headphones while I read)