That phrase holds a lot of emotion…especially when it’s just happened. The little birds spread their wings, leap and low and behold…they fly! I speak from experience here, because my two little birds did just that. When your kids go off to college, it can be a bit rough, but when they both leave…well, it’s stressful. So, all Summer long I dreaded the day we moved them into their own apartment near campus. I’m very close to my kids and I wondered what life would be like in our big house with just me, my husband and the dogs. Most of my adult life has been devoted to my kids. Taking them here and there, to practices and performances, competitions and games. Now they were ready to fly…had their own cars, their own place and jobs. How did that happen? I consider myself very fortunate that my children get along and wanted to room together. Half of the worry was gone with that decision. Knowing they had each other to lean on was a relief. So, it’s been almost 2 months now…and the phrase “empty nest” doesn’t seem as looming. For one thing, since the nest is empty, I can clean it! But more than that, it’s allowing them a chance to grow in ways they never have before…taking on real responsibilities. And, it’s given me a chance to start finding out what I want to do…who I am…and devoting time to doing new things I find fulfilling. It’s given me time to relax for the first time in a very long time.
Even more importantly, I’ve discovered, the empty nest is necessary. It’s necessary to the development of my kids becoming adults. It’s necessary for me as a parent to find my own way, too. But even more, it opens the door for my children to become my friends. Yes, I’m always their Mom, but we can relate in ways now we couldn’t do before, when they lived at home. So, the empty nest, really isn’t empty…it’s full of more things than I ever imagined…opportunities, growth, love, friendship. Who knew?