Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Solutions for Empty Nest Syndrome


A happy 5th grade graduate (and the last one in my nest).
Some of the best parents suffer from it… 

So, what does one do when their children are all grown up and they're faced with a whole lotta time on their hands? Do they take walks? Watch TV? Become addicted to Netflix episodes? Find new hobbies? Make new friends? Or do they fall into a slump of depression?

Well I think this depends on who you ask and what you've done to prep yourself for that empty nest day…which if you haven’t gotten to yet, it’s coming.


When you're a parent for so long it’s almost like being in a store with your child when they were little- you remember... At least once you were so busy-busy; so focused. You had your child by the hand and you let that hand go for a second… When you turned around you feel like you lost your breath. Where are they? Where’d they go? What will you do now?

Empty nest is sort of like that. It is the farthest thing from your mind. Then, suddenly, like a gust of wind, it creeps up on you and blows you away! You didn’t even see it coming! Then wham!
You feel it in your gut, and the silence in your ears is deafening.

As I attended several graduation parties this summer, and heard plenty more discussions on kids growing up and time flying…I thought to myself (with a huge gulp), ‘Oh no. This is what’s going to happen?’. Well, it wasn’t going to…it IS happening! My baby just graduated the 5th grade and my oldest is graduating high school a year from now! I’m not getting out unscathed!

Empty Nest...it’s like any other stage on our parenting journey; it can’t be avoided, we cant go around it, we must go through it, and it’s not going to be easy. For years I’ve been luckily-unlucky to have plenty of chances to deal with Empty Nest. Multiple times a year I see my children off for vacations with their dad.  They go 1200 miles away, for sometimes weeks at a time. Talk about shell shock the first few (dozen) times. I think I’m better acclimated to the change, but it’s probably because they always come back. So, although I’ve been without them from time to time (all at once) it’s never permanent.

When the final time comes, and my last baby flies the nest, how will I fix the feelings of the three of them growing up, moving on…and (gulp) moving out?

I won’t.
I will feel it, deal with it, and follow my own advice:
I will
-Let go
-Trust
-Remain available
-Listen
-Smile (don’t cry because it’s over, be happy because it happened)
-Take up hobbies, get back in touch with friends, get some rest, read a book or magazine, go to the museum, the library or volunteer. I might sleep in, change careers, move or simply just save money
on gas! 

In short, I’ll get inspired to live in the now and 
enjoy that next stage of my life
(before the grand kids start coming)!

READ MY JULY COLUMN ON THIS SAME TOPIC



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