Republished from The Today Show Parenting
Here it comes again. Graduation time. Most likely someone you know is going to have a child leaving the nest for the first time. I have been through it three times. Yes, once, twice, thrice. You would think that after the first time it gets easier. Somewhat, but children are not all the same and they do not all get sent off the same way.
I must say, I just about had a total breakdown when my first son went off to college. I raised my boys tight-knit and now it seemed as if the family was losing a thread. Not being able to have one of my babies, yes, they will always be my babies lol, around for dinner, family outings or to call on for silly stuff like…where’s the remote, took some getting used to. I relived it three times.
And now, as an empty nest veteran, I find myself being the support person for those that are going through it for the first time. I hear myself saying…”yes, we knew this day would eventually come. Yes, we knew our lives would never be the same. Yes, when they were hard to deal with teens we couldn’t wait for this day. But for some reason, now that the day has arrived, we can only think about how just yesterday they were babies.” I have said this to numerous people over the last five years. I feel as if I can record it and put it on iTunes.
One of the great things about being a mother or being a parent, is that you never lose your children. They just shift to different levels. High School graduates become college kids that only call home for money or come home on weekends or breaks to bring their dirty, obscenely funky laundry and to spend more time with friends than family. And even with that, you come to love it.
If you have multiple children, get ready to relive it. If you have friends and family with children younger than yours, get ready to relive it. If you watch a movie or TV show that deals with becoming an empty nester, get ready to relive it. It does get easier once you deal with the reality of letting them go. You learn to shift levels and let them grow.