My New Happy: Two Years Later, In My Empty Nest

Friday, September 7, 2018

Two Years Later, In My Empty Nest


Apparently, time flies when you're in an empty nest...somehow it's been two years since we dropped Thomas off for his first semester of college.

He's doing great, which I never doubted.  He just started his last year of undergrad, and next fall he'll begin his veterinary medicine program.  He loves it there, and there's no question that he's where he belongs.  Conner is also a rock star.  He's got a new job with huge responsibility...and a big, shiny truck to show for all that hard work. I'm so proud of both of them...I feel like I might burst some days.

Clearly, they're doing just fine.  But what about me?

I won't lie and tell you that I'm used to it now, or that I love being an empty nester.  Every time they walk out the door after coming home, my heart breaks all over again.  If I had my way, they'd be 10 and 8 forever, safe under my wing where I could protect them and do all the things that mama's do.  I miss them like crazy, and some days I still catch my breath when I realize they won't be home for dinner, that I can't hug them whenever I want.  But that's not the way life goes.


And it does get easier, as time passes.  I'm getting used to the new normal.  There's less crying, less sadness.  I've realized that it's okay to feel all the feels whenever I want to feel them.  I put everything I had into these human beings for over twenty years, and that doesn't stop just because it's time for them to move on.

For the record, there are some definite perks to an emptier house.  There's very little laundry and fewer trips to the grocery store.  I get more sleep and much more time for me.  George and I are having a blast, trying new things and having fun being together, just the two of us again.  

So what have I learned these past two years?  Mostly that worrying and feeling a little sad will never completely go away.  Pieces of my heart are still walking around outside my body, and that will be true until the day I die.


But they'll always come back.  Maybe not in the same way, and not for as long as forever, but we're friends now.  They call and check in, and they still need me.  In a different way, but still.  And I won't stop being their biggest cheerleader or a shoulder to cry on when they've had a bad day.  Just from a bit more distance sometimes.

Yep, they're doing just fine.  And I'm doing okay too.

To see my post from the day we dropped Thomas off at school, go here.

32 comments:

  1. It sounds like you have a really grounded and realistic outlook. I hope I can handle similar situations with such grace!

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    1. Thanks Whitney - I'm not sure how graceful I am, but I'm getting through!

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  2. Yay! I’m so glad you’re adjusting to the change! My mind still can’t wrap around being an empty nester, but I know it’s coming! For now, I guess i’ll Take the teen years!

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    1. Honestly, the teen years weren't so bad, now that I'm looking back on them!

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  3. Parent-child relationships really change over the years. Each phase as they grow is different! I love how you are focusing on the positives of the phase you are in right now!

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  4. You know I relate to this 110%! I can not imagine what is going to happen next August when the baby leaves. You’re right, it’s just different. Advantages yes but I do not think we are like most moms who reaaaaly embrace it, we ache for their absence. I am proud of you and for sure, being busy helps! HUGS and more HUGS!

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    1. Hugs right back! I have a few friends that are so happy they're kids are gone - I don't understand :)!

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  5. Hi Lana, I enjoyed reading your post about your boys. We just dropped off my daughter who started her first year at college. My stomach was in knots for the first week. I am starting to feel a little better as she adjusts to college life and we do face time and texts. I am keeping myself very busy and yes reconnecting with the hubs is nice. Take care.
    Julie xo

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    1. Sending hugs to you. It does get better as time goes on, especially if they're doing well. So glad you stopped by!

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  6. I feel the same way about emptynesterhood. Well said. Have a great weekend.

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    1. So glad you stopped by - and congratulations on your daughter's engagement!

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  7. Aw man. All the feels. Even though Lucia is driving me crazy right now as the 8 year old, I will go snuggle them tonight just for you. Can't wait for you to experience Disney with us- you can get your 10 and 8 year old fill then!

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  8. I love this post Lana, and love your words of wisdom. Interestingly enough, 8 and 10 are the ages of my kids now. It is always a good reminder that babies don’t keep.

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  9. I love your beautiful heart and your perspective. Those pieces of our hearts walking around out there. I’m getting choked up and Emily hasn’t even started kindergarten yet!!

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    1. Kindergarten was a hard one for me too. I remember having a panic attack about it a whole year before Conner started. You'll do great!

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  10. I am so with you! There are perks and I’m trying to focus on those so I don’t lose my mind! Love you and commiserating with you!

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    1. Yep, gotta focus on the positive or it goes nowhere good! Thanks friend - and I'm thinking of you too!

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  11. Oh Lana, you captured how I feel exactly. Except we've been empty nesters for 3 weeks - ha! I wish my boys were 4 and 6 forever - that was my favorite time. I stayed home with them and everything was just easy and fun. Oh how I miss those days (and my good eyesight and healthy feet but I digress). My heart does break all over again when they leave. It's such a strange feeling - to be excited and happy that they are successful and doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing yet feeling destroyed a bit too. It is much better now than it was when Nolan first left two years ago. It took months for me to get settled, maybe even the whole first year. It was almost harder having just one son home, I felt like we couldn't or shouldn't go and do anything fun without Nolan. Anyhow, thanks so much for putting into words exactly how I feel!
    xo,
    Kellyann
    p.s. how I wish we lived closer!

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    1. Me too! Someday we will meet and I can't wait! Exactly - it's such a strange feeling to be so excited for them and so sorry for yourself!

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  12. Wow! I remember feeling like this 18 years ago, and even though we raise them to actually leave and be on their own, it doesn't make it any easier. My son actually has his own family now and lives in another state, but there are still days that I wish he was around for a quick hug. But like you, I feel excited about what life has to bring him. Happy Weekend and Hugs...RO

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    1. Yep, we raise them to move on and be successful - and then it's so hard when they do!

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  13. Lana...I'm not even a mama and I'm a little teary eyed! This is a beautiful post!! Hugs friend! And YAY for more time just you and George!!

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  14. I am not going to lie, I teared up reafirethis. It's funny how we crave the peace and quiet, more time gif ourselves, less chores, yet when they are gone we miss them. Sigh. I love that you and George are doing new things and exploring all kinds of things as a couple. You truyt seem to enjoy being together and that gives me hope for that part of my life.

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    1. Having time as a couple again is definitely the upside!

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  15. It's nice that you and George have a solid unit at home together. I think that has to be key and I work on things with Cassidy NOW, knowing that day will come where it's mostly just the two of us..
    I can't fathom this day coming and me handling it.. but I know I'm wrong.
    You are my inspiration.

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    1. You are going to be awesome - I have no doubt. You're so smart to keep working on your relationship with Cassidy - it's so important!

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