empty nest·er \-ˈnes-tər\
Definition: A parent whose children have grown and moved away from home.
The signs of the impending empty nester life shadowed me night and day, blatantly staring me down, making sure I paid attention. There was no denying it, though I made a very big point to do so.
Instead, my precious energy poured into anger, hurt, and self-pity when little changes in our family unit took place.
One Fourth of July, I had made plans to celebrate with my boys. Halfway though my glee-filled rundown of what I had set up, my youngest said, “Oh, but we already have plans.”
“Plans?” I echoed. It took a few seconds to register. I was so used to being the social director for the past two decades, this caught me off guard. Not only did my two sons make their own plans for the holiday, their plans didn’t include me.
For this single mother who took it upon herself to make sure her orbit ran circles around her two boys, their increasing independence was scary. Though I had made the conscious choice to wrap myself solely around their world, I couldn’t see it was in my power to make choices to adapt to being an empty nester.
There I stood, holding a bag filled with 18+ years of memories. I couldn’t see there was room for more. All I could see was an uncertain future and a deflated past. I couldn’t even be sure where I stood in the moment.
After an intense dream that had me in tears, I came to the realization it was time to let go and to take steps to build for myself a foundation that would support me during the transition. It’s all about empowerment.
1. Give (someone) the authority or power to do something.
2. Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
Since we cannot stop the inevitability of being an empty nester, it is important to look inside for strength and affirmation because that is what will be our constant rock. Our inspiration. Outside distractions will only delay our growth.
This transition to being an empty nester is a project. An ongoing journey, but a journey you don’t have to go on alone.
So please join me. Take a deep breath and empower yourself. Let’s get moving in a new direction.