So, our youngest daughter is leaving for college soon. I'm getting lots of comments like, 'Oh, are you sad?"
and, 'This will be the worst time ever." The complexities of my life right now -helping to care for my husband's elderly parents and my daughter's health issues have recently left me little time to check in with myself about how I
feel about our so called looming empty nest.
The term empty nest seems to me to be a patriarchal left-over from the past when women stayed at home with
children, and when the children were gone there was little for them to do. Granted, there are many mothers and
fathers that stay at home with their children, and indeed might feel a certain emptiness and loss of purpose after
the kids fly.
I do know that at this time, in my mid-life, I have a felt sense that my arms are stretched out as wide as I can
The metaphor is that my nest, our nest, includes so much more than a house with four walls. We have a community
of family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and activities, and, after 23 years of children in our house with four walls,
I look forward to the space and time to incubate the creative potential that exists within us and within me.
As artists hubby and I have always had to balance raising children and creative time. As a devoted mom, children
have always come first, and my adult children always will when they need me.
I know when I peek into my daughter's room after she's gone I will feel a pang in my heart, and maybe shed a tear at first. I also know that I'll be sending gluten free care packages, texting with her, and Thanksgiving will be here
Maybe it's because she's not my first to leave, and maybe it's because I trust that the bond we have created as
a family will always bring us back together for holidays and occasions. What I do know is that my nest is full
for now- full of life, full of potential, full of love, laughter, sadness, hope, anger, grace, vulnerability, and
moments of joy.
...and then there are the dishes.
8/10/2015 07:28:55 am
What a lovely essay. With 2 in college I both feel like something is missing at times, and so happy I could burst. This transition from being so invested as a mom (a working mom), and enjoying being a friend/coach with my kids is wonderful. There is time for me, time for me and my husband, and more time for us to expand out into our community-which we did not have before. You are putting words to what I have been feeling. Thank you so much. I am going to be a
8/12/2015 01:18:01 am
Jane, I love what you said about moving from being an invested mom to a coach/friend. Stepping back is a gift, and I have loved joining my girls in this new way. My mother was right about this, adult children
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visual junkie, artist, psychotherapist
21403 Chagrin Boulevard
Beachwood, OH 44122