We have two daughters, and when they were young, I had a brief period as a “stay at home” mom. We spent a lot of quality time together going to the library, visiting friends and family, dance lessons, the zoo and museums. In the summers, we would go to the pool or beach, swim lessons, and various sports lessons.
Six months ago, our daughter bought her first place and moved out. Her younger sister is in her last year of nursing school so between work & school, she is barely at home. As a result, we spend a lot of time alone. We have become Empty Nesters.
Today I went to a store all of us used to go to when my daughters were little. This wave of nostalgia came over me as I went through the aisles by myself looking at all the items.
I realized, I am transitioning my relationship with my daughters. They are no longer young tween or teenage girls, they have grown up to be independent successful young ladies. I am proud of them, so happy they are starting their adventure of striking out and living their own lives. But…
Sometimes, I miss them, the way things used to be, the togetherness. I think most of all, them needing me the way they once did. Those feelings make this transition bittersweet. I am embarking on a new phase in my life…The Me, that no longer has the kids to run around, to be at their events or to get dinner on the table. This phase is new and its scary and exciting and it causes me anxiety sometimes all at the same time, but most of all…its creating a growth mindset, an uncomfortableness in me to decide what the rest of my life is going to look like.
When my husband & I were starting out our marriage and we would visit my parents, the one outstanding memory I have is that they would make our visits “an occasion.” We did not live next door, so we would take the hour drive to see them, and they made our time memorable. We would have great food and conversation, they gave us their undivided time and attention for the time we were there. It is one of the best memories I have of my parents! The torch has been passed and now its my turn…
Instead of looking back with sadness, I am choosing to embrace the past with all the memories of those little girls, live in the present…so being present when my daughters are around, and looking forward to the future with all of its infinite possibilities! As our relationships evolve, I am finding that they may not need me like they did but they want to spend time…on their terms of course. The other day, I went out with some friends and while I was out, the weather got bad, and each of my daughters called me to see if I was ok!!! I’ve always texted them in bad weather situations. I have been learning when to step in and when to step aside, when to step up and when to step back. I am learning new “dance” steps with my adult daughters!
As I am going through this transitional phase that makes me uncomfortable with where I fit in with my daughters, I am reflecting on the type of relationship I want going forward with them? What kind of memories do I want to create with them? So when my daughters are home even if it is for a brief time, I cherish that time as priceless and memorable. So blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with these beautiful and talented young women that I am fortunate to have as my daughters.
2 thoughts on “Confessions of an Empty Nester”
Beautifully said. Thinking of you.
Very humbled to have interested readers…thank you!:). Ditto on the “thinking of you!”