When our children are young we measure the milestones. When they are grown and far we measure the miles and the minutes we get to see them. I have two older children who live very far away and miss them each day. One friend whose child just moved said:”You spend the whole time raising them desperate for a moment to yourself, and when they leave you hope for a moment together.” So true.
I won’t be an empty nester anytime soon since I had a third child in my forties. Even so, I miss the ones who are gone.
It’s lonely settling into a new routine without your kids. It really hits you for the first when you drop them at college. I’ve done this twice. The first few weeks are really tough. You even miss their footsteps at 2:00 am in the morning – fumbling in their pockets for their cell phones to wake you up like you ever went to sleep not knowing where they were. I sobbed when my kids left for college.
I cried when they graduated and moved away. I cry each time they come and go. I’m probably personally responsible for an increase in Kleenex sales. I do talk to parents who say: “It’s time,” when their kids leave. I never felt this way. I’m a helicopter parent and mothers like me probably have the hardest time. We are used to doing everything for our kids. My husband always tells me to be happy that the kids are developing the skills to live on their own.
The Free Dictionary defines a basket case as “a person who is suffering from extreme nervous strain; nervous wreck.” Here’s how to prevent the basket case blues when kids fly the coop:
- Avoid sitting in your child’s room unless you enjoy going to funerals
- Wait until they dump whoever they dated before putting together their graduation photo albums so you can get those pictures photoshopped
- Set a date when you know you’ll visit the child if they’ll let you
- Resist calling and wait until they call so they don’t think you are a desperate housewife
Remember that it’s tough for children too. They get used to living on their own. When they come home it isn’t about rules and curfews anymore. They don’t want some real mother hen clipping their wings or hatching up plans and feeding them worms. They want to head to the Hen House Market and get a chicken panini and a caffè latte at Starbucks and call it a day.