The “Empty Nest” Doesn’t Have to Be
This weekend my husband and I said goodbye to our daughter after an extended visit for what is going to be a three-month long absence. This is not the first time it’s been just the two of us, but the house feels strangely lonely after having her here, back in her old room. The reality of parents of adult children is this; nothing seems the same when the kids are gone, and then things are slightly out of sync when they do visit. Then when they leave again everything is once more out of balance, while we adjust to the new reality.
This adjustment process is something most parents will eventually contend with, and there are various methods of coping, or not coping, with the fact that our children are adults and leading their own lives. This does not mean parents should mourn the end of an era, though. I’d much rather embrace the change in our lifestyles, and find new activities and interests to fill the time we used to spend in the queue waiting to drop off kids for school, or waiting for the game or concert to start or be over so we could get them fed and ready to start the next day.
For me, having grown children has been an opportunity to express some parts of myself I had to repress when I was busy being mom full time. My daughter especially encourages her dad and me to get out and try new things, though she does think we’re weird when we post pictures of ourselves at concerts on Facebook.
Funny thing is, I have more in common with my kids now than when they were younger. We bonded with the kids over Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, and now we share copies of the Marvel heroes movies and hold screenings for Star Trek and classic sci-fi movies that are being remade (in abundance right now) in our family room.
My son has become interested in a number of shows, thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime, which I once watched after he was in bed at night, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s funny, now, that we can discuss the final season and how the spinoff came full circle back into the finale story line.
I am still a mom, and that’s not going to end any time soon. That doesn’t mean I can’t spread my wings a little, and embrace being me, now that I have more free time, and still be a friend and mentor to my adult children. I am proud to say I’m a fan girl in my own right, and just as likely to find a new obsession these days as they are. Of course, someday I’d like to be the grandma who shares superheroes and space battles with her grandkids.
Thanks for reading,