Whether you are on your way to emptying your nest or already sitting in it, the role you lived as parent shifts. Who are you beyond mother? Who are you beyond father?
When you sit with others who are on a similar journey, you feel a bonding, a clan, a place to be right where you are with your full range of thoughts and feelings.
Until you hug your children goodbye and come back home to their empty room and silence, it isn't real. You think about. You wonder how you will be and what will be next for you? You wonder how they will do away from home and support.
I have spoken with thousands of parents across the country. I am an empty nester. Empty nest is an invitation to focus back on self. It is a stage of your life where you begin to build new inner resources. You grieve for the role and life you had and at the same time are excited about the new freedom to come for you.
Even when children graduate high school or college and live at home, due to finances or other challenges, you the parent know, you have been kicked out of the kingdom as you knew it. They want more independence. You feel on tilt because you don't know how to build this new relationship with them.
The school community you had is over. You are curious about where new friendships will come together. I haven't met a parent who doesn't long to feel connected with their children and free at the same time. Parts of you, the parent, had to go dormant. There is only so much energy you have. In this new stage of empty nester, you will find those dormant parts and celebrate what you forgot or chose to put on hold.
I remember recently watching a political historian on a talk show. She shared her insights about politics today and our future as it connects to what we may learn from past presidents. She was captivating for me, as always. But, when she sat next to her son, during that same show and looked at him while he was being interviewed, she lit up like I have never seen her before. Her face said it all. I am his mom. I am so proud of him right now. I am his mom no matter what age he is (he is past his college graduation).
For me, parenting has been one of my top teachers of life, joyous and challenging for sure.
Get support. Meet other empty nesters. You are welcome to connect for free on our website message board with other empty nesters, read the stories and blogs, or call about a support group in your area.
No one needs to go through this major life transition alone.
Take good care,
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