Contrary to what most people think about empty nesters, not all of us regret seeing our offspring walk out that door to spread their adult wings and fly. Well, maybe at first there was that twinge and tug at the heartstrings… okay, there were a few glistening moments of near tears. Oh, all right! I sat down and wept like a baby at one point – okay?
If you have more than one child to kick out of the house – oops, I mean send off into the world – then you’re familiar with that bittersweet experience. Even though our first born was fully equipped to tackle life and make decisions on her own, we couldn’t help but wonder, worry, and whine. Then we turned around and there was the second one reminding us we still had parenting to do.
Before we knew it, the last born graduated from college, got a job, and was packing her bags to fly the coop, too, and the goodbye scenario began all over again. But this time, it was much sweeter than bitter. It was a moment of accomplishment seeing her leave home, not a sad day of letting go. Our heart tug represented pride, not pain, as we watched her drive away in a car she paid for, wearing clothes she bought with her own paycheck, and sporting a grin so full of independence it was scary.
All those years of raising children – giving, giving, and giving some more – were finished! And it didn’t take long before our empty nest was transformed into our love nest again. We could finally go back to being a couple, and all decisions were based on our needs: quietude or dinner party? Work on our businesses or enjoy happy hour beachside? Attend morning or afternoon church service? And although our topics of conversation centered around our second-half-of-life dreams, we usually ended up wondering how the girls were doing or reminiscing about their life here with us.
The empty nest defined us again… and if you savored, cherished, and nurtured your coupleness all those years, you will discover a sweeter, better nest. Just be prepared for the young adults coming back for dinner, advice, and tons of love, because they never really leave you – they just stray a bit. Let them fly. You done good. They’ll be fine – and so will you.
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer