It's a gut wrenching feeling, a time of swollen eyes full of tears, and hearts that feel empty and broken. It's pride filled thoughts of the future and a bittersweet rush of memories. The empty nest: a roller coaster of emotion. It leaves you wondering what to do with the rest of your life.
It was true. My kids were grown and gone, I was divorced, and it was time to leave my home of 26 years for something smaller and more manageable. Gulp. The word 'downsizing' sounds harsh to me. Somehow it conveys your life isn't as important -- as vital -- as it used to be.
As I have waited and watched for the first signs of spring in my town near Charlotte, North Carolina, I knew I was enjoying a yearly rite of anticipation that more tropical climes simply don't offer.
There comes a time in every relationship when there's an urgent need to reconnect: when the kids leave, in the aftermath of an affair, or when everything's just got a bit stale. Even couples who felt they were rubbing along quite amicably while the kids were at home are forced to recognize that they've been living parallel lives when the kids leave.
I came home from the airport to quiet house with an empty laundry hamper, the sink devoid of dirty dishes and a bathroom counter I could actually see. And I thought to myself, there are two things that are keeping me from sobbing from loneliness.
The shocking and painful reality hit me as my last child drove away to college: I will live without my children longer than I will live with them. I stood alone in the empty house and howled like a wounded beast. Then I blew my nose, grabbed my work gloves, and proceeded to convert my son's bedroom into a writing studio. Finally, Mama created her own space!
There was a time when I took pride in the fact that my house was one of the busiest (and noisiest) on the street. I had four children of my own, took care of five others during the after school hours, and maintained a revolving door for all the neighborhood kids to come over whenever they chose. My house was always LOUD. Music blasting, televisions blaring, giggling, squealing, and raucous games of basketball in the driveway --this was the norm.
7. Storage Whatever you decide to do, just promise us (and yourself), you won't turn into one of these parents. Come home
We asked Huff/Post50 readers about the things they never thought they'd miss once their kids left the house, and here's what
I'm close to the edge. I'm teetering between feeling abandoned and like the richest girl in the world -- rich because he chose me to be his mom, to give me that smile and that laugh.
The great migration to college begins this week. Bed, Bath and Beyond has been sacked and the booty loaded in the car, so heavily weighted down that the back bumper practically scrapes the ground. Move-in day dawns, inevitably hot and humid, with all the 'stuff' needing to be carried up at least three flights of stairs. That's the easy part.
After a couple of decades of child-rearing, from changing diapers to warming midnight bobbies; *POOF*! All that's left is a lonely stuffy on the bed, some old CD cases, and a closet full of mementos that you now crawl through, a silly sentimental tear rolling down your nose. Now what?