While my children were growing up, I often thought about what my life would be like once they were grown and out on their own. I admit, these thoughts came to me more often when I was feeling overwhelmed with my duties as a mom. My musings had more to do with how much easier my life would be versus how much I would miss my children. Perhaps in the middle of sorting piles of laundry—I never understood how kids can go through so many clothes—or while stressing about what to serve for dinner after a long day at work. Perhaps it was while racing to get to soccer, karate, guitar lessons, or whatever the activities of the night happened to be.
With my son’s wedding just around the corner, this empty-nest thing is becoming a hard reality and I have mixed feelings about it. This is not the first time he is leaving home. I remember the first time we left him at university and drove back home without him. I thought I was being very stoic but that evening, as I set the dinner table for three instead of four, the tears came pouring down. Since then there have been many University drop-offs. The difference though, when they go away to school, they eventually come back. This time he is truly starting his own life and his own family.
I will miss him living at home with us. The house never feels more like a home than it does when it is full of family. I didn’t realize until recently how much I count on him. He provides me a lot of support—moral, technological, emotional. On the other hand, I am gaining a beautiful new daughter-in-law. I am gaining a larger extended family. And one day, I hope I will gain grandchildren.
Now I should state that I still have a daughter at home. How will I feel when she moves on as well? I’m sure it will be tough. But it is inevitable, and part of the circle of life. I know that if I have done a great job raising my kids they will be well prepared for the life ahead of them. And that makes me happy and proud.
I’m certain there are a lot of empty-nest stories out there. I would love to hear them. What are your experiences with your children leaving the nest? If your kids are still at home, have you thought about what life will be like without them at home? Write your stories below.