It was a late summer Saturday when my husband and I pulled on to the university campus with my youngest child, Elise, to begin her new season of college life in the big city of Nashville, Tennessee. I had prepared myself by acknowledging that this is the natural progression in life for my daughter and for me as laid out by generations of families before ours.
But she was only 17! Wasn't she a little young to be away from home?
Although my daughter was still technically a teenager, she, as I knew very well, was very mature for her age. I knew that she carried a tremendous amount of common sensibility which usually helped her to make good decisions.
This knowledge was influencing me in allowing her to unpack her life that day in her new home away from home but....she was still my baby!
As my husband and I drove off campus that day leaving her behind to start her new adventure in life, I began second guessing everything I knew and begged my husband to turn around and go back and get her!
My husband, the rational thinking person in the car, began reassuring me of the facts that I already knew and I accepted that this was a turning point in my life and hers.
I had to let her go....and she had to learn to fly on her own.
She was the beginning of an empty nest process that only took about a year to complete.
My second little bird to leave the nest was my oldest son, who left to accept an internship also in Nashville, TN. Although my mom concerns were influencing me during his transition season, I knew as well that he was capable of standing on his own two feet and to fly on his own.
My third and last child to leave the nest was gone soon after to prepare his nest for his soon to be bride in their new abode. He was my first to take a wife and transition into marriage. I never doubted that he was going to make one amazing husband!
Even though my husband and I had prepared each of our children to be independent of us and taught them how to live in life and how to make wise choices, my motherly connection was still hard to let go of when the time came for each of them to fly on their own.
The transition into complete empty nest was a process for me to accept and to learn how to live without children under my feet.
My mental process of acceptance involved an unexpected reaction on my part but seemed to be exactly what I needed.
I began cleaning!
I cleaned their bedrooms, their closets, their bathrooms, and then proceeded into the rest of the house. I cleaned out areas that had piled up from years of collection and tossed whatever was useless and gave the rest away.
My husband came home one day from work and found me in the kitchen with every cabinet door open and all the dishes and pots and pans out on the table.
I turned around and said, "Just let me do this, and when I'm done I'll be ok."
And I was!
It was my way of walking through the transition of being mother of three children to being mother of three adults. I had to set up a completely different nest!
My constant companion and empathizer and supporter was my husband. Our strong relationship was necessary to carry me into this new season. I was able to turn to the man that I loved and know that he was constant in my life.
Have you transitioned into empty nest? Is it coming up in the near future?
Just remember, letting go is necessary for the circle of life. Prepare your children to function independently from you so you can have peace of mind when it's time for them to fly!
Discovering Life Together!