Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Empty Nest? Chicks Flying the Coop!!

This is an unusual post for me. One I might even regret sharing...probably in a few minutes.
I am wondering why I have rarely seen this subject addressed in a public forum when it's so prevalent. Only once (this AM, a few minutes ago), did I read a mom's true feelings about her son's high school graduation. And I instantly thought--"that is me". She wrote "They don’t talk much about the season of transition and yes, grief, that mothers feel when their babies grow up and drive off into the sunset. I’ll tiptoe back to my room for a good cry, then resume life in a busy household." Are most people afraid to reveal their true feelings because they're not all happy happy?

Our oldest children are 21, 19, and 18. They are in various ways preparing to leave our house. I guess all the children are, but those three are the most obvious.

Change means different things to parents and children. While I share their excitement, I cannot help but be sad--that my life is going to be empty without them. It's a perfect blend of excitement and dread, of happiness and loneliness, anticipation and sadness.

How do you mothers that have survivied this transition in your lives cope? I have hobbies, activities, chores, house maintenance, etc. to keep me busy until kingdom come. But how do you live with the empty spot that your children used to fill in your heart? I think I have invested the best portion of my life into them. Made sacrifices that I could never have imagined as a newlywed. Endured pain (physical and emotional) that the most seasoned writers won't attempt to convey!!

Come on, ladies. You KNOW what I'm talking about!!

~Joan, who is feeling a little melancholy this morning


Ceamz said...

We have spent our entire "grownup" lives taking care of them only to be fired!!! I feel what you are feeling too. I have no answers : (
(with children ages 27,25,11 and 10)

Kerri said...

Hi Joan,

I didn't want to think this about until the time came for me. I am in the transition time too, and it is a process, that I am not out of yet. When the melancholy comes, I pray, and that is the only remedy I have found. For the moment, I sigh and look to a new and different happy future. It is the alone and not needed feeling that is difficult at a time when I realize I am on the opposite side of the mountain of life. Thank heavens our Father in Heaven knows our sorrow! Bless you.

Lindah said...

My children are 49, 45, 41 and 39, but I remember very well the surprise emotional punch that came with the "loss" of my first child as she went off to college. We had been working together toward that goal, but when it was accomplished, I cried for days as I realized that her leaving was final. It was not a temporary trip to summer camp. I was not expecting such a deep emotional response. Time took care of it. Life went on. She was happy and I was so happy because of that. Bless you. It is a form of grieving and it will get better with time.

Sue Tokash said...

I find it so ironic that there are so many books out there to teach and guide people. Books on raising babies, puberty, coping with illness and dying. Yet not one book for women in the middle ages. It's like it is a taboo subject-empty nest syndrome,menopause and caring for elderly parents.

Carol said...

The melancholy will slowly be displaced by the love and pride of watching your children achieve and grow and become who they are meant to be. Remember the excitement and wonder of the new found independence when you were that age? As you go through a period of grieving their absence, try to replace the sadness that you are feeling with the feeling of excitement and wonder that they are feeling.

Remember that your children are your proudest accomplishments, and along with feeling your sadness, look forward to their future growth and accomplishments and relationships. They will enlarge your family and your circle of love.

And as for their place in your heart? They will always be there. They may be absent from your home, but never from your heart.