My oldest daughter is leaving for college in four months and it’s going to be hard for me.
My youngest will soon be following her. In less than two years I’ll be living in the proverbial empty nest. I am going to be sad and will miss them terribly.
I’m not whining or looking for sympathy. It’s a fact.
Lately, when I mention this, people tell me:
You’ll be fine.
It’s an exciting adventure for all of you.
You and your husband get along great.
With technology it’ll be like they never left.
All of this is true.
I will be fine. I’ve embarked on this new path of teaching yoga. I have my writing. My books. My yoga community. My husband, family and friends. My dog, who I adopted because she won’t be going off to college. So, yes, I will definitely be fine. Better than fine. I’m excited about this next chapter in my life.
I will also be sad.
It is an exciting adventure for all of us. I spent 20 years as a stay-at-home mom for just this reason. I’ve raised two amazing, confident, smart, kind and compassionate daughters ready to make their way into the world. It is an adventure for them. One they are ready to take on and I am excited for them.
I am also sad. I will miss them.
My husband and I do get along great. We spent a week alone over the summer and had such fun. We loved having the house to ourselves. Loved being husband and wife first and parents second. Loved that we still love being together, hanging out, just the two of us.
But, it will also be sad. The house will be quiet. Our time a little more empty.
I am incredibly grateful for texting and video chat. It will definitely make it easier. But it won’t be the same as the three of us hanging out on my bed laughing and talking for hours. It won’t be us snuggling on the couch as we watch our favorite show together.
It won’t be the same.
It’s not supposed to be the same. I’ve spent my entire time as a parent letting go of them, one tiny step at a time.
The real tragedy would be if they were not ready to go out into the world. I know this.
I also know that I will be sad when it happens.
That’s the nature of change.
Of being a parent.
So, please, have patience as I make my way, as mindfully as possible, through this new transition.
Let me know it’ll be fine.
That I’ll be fine.
That it’s an exciting adventure.
Because those things are true.
And, please, let me be sad.
Because that is also true.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo credits: elephant journal archives