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Lasting Impressions

August 27, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Ocean_Birds_P1110950I thought it would be fun, for end of summer, to share some of your happy moments.  I will begin and you add on.

1. Walks on the beach in the evening
2. Jackson Hole hikes to lakes and views of Tetons
3. Being with friends, who had more free time, to deeply share and catch up on NOW WHAT…
4. Braving up to speak on a pilot TV talk show segment
5. A walk with a very special person, in Venice, CA, talking about commitment
6. Seeing blue, August, jelly fish on the sand for the first time with hubby
7. Photographing sunrises
8. Music gathering at a woman’s home and remembering how much I love piano, drums, harmony, guitar, voices
9. Hugging my daughter when she walks in the door to visit
Mountain_Lake_P1110010
I bet if I were to write this memory next week, there would be more happy memories to visit.

I remember walking the ocean bluffs and meeting a woman, tall, lean, grey-haired, wearing a pink shawl, and maybe 80. She shared with me that she is painting her cards for Xmas already.  I asked what they looked like. She said, “Oh that is a surprise for Xmas.”  She is a reminder to me that age has nothing to do with finding something that lifts your spirits.

Grateful for easy times and wonderment… Oh, I forgot, early morning, black coffee (dash of cinnamon no cream or sugar) on the patio, smelling the growing cilantro and basil

Forest_Sunrise_P1110441What comes to mind for you?

Enjoy,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Sail_Jellyfisth_P1110953Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

 

 

When Kids Leave Home

August 25, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Sunset_P1040207“My sister is on her way to drop off her first college kid.” That is the call I got last week. I have never had a sister call about letting go and now what, as kids leave home for college, or marriage, or work.

She shared how this boy, this little fire cracker boy, who slept in her back car as they caravanned on vacations, every summer to the lake, was more like her kid than any kid she ever knew.

She took a photo of her back seat, lined with toys, boxes of cheese crackers, raisins, orange slices in baggies, juice boxes, water bottles, and sports equipment, and mailed it to his new mail box at college  “When you come back home, I am always here to have a good time and if need be, a good cry together. Enjoy your well-earned college days and know you are loved no matter what,” she wrote.

She and I came up with that idea as a way for her to begin to let go.  This boy, this nephew, was her motivation to stay hopeful, while critically ill, divorced, jobless, and while well and happy about life.

She didn’t caravan to college drop off day.  That was for her sister.  She didn’t even ask to go.  What she decided to do was cook seven meals and put them in her sister’s freezer, each taped with colorful paper and words of what she loved about her sister and each ending with THANK YOU for sharing him with me for eighteen years.  He helped me grow up. Now I will help you, sister, find what’s next with your new free time. I will always find time to listen to you and pass you soft Kleenex as you miss your boy. He will be home for Thanksgiving.

Sunflowers_7440She left yellow sun flowers on her sister’s kitchen table and a bowl of blue berries, along with an empty journal saying, NOW YOU BEGIN YOUR NEW ROAD BEYOND PARENTING. ENJOY YOUR WELL EARNED MILESTONE THAT INCLUDES MISSING AND EXPLORING.

May all of you who are missing someone right now, be grateful you could love that much and be open to both the tears and the joys,

Take good care,
Natalie

 
Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Grieving

August 21, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Color_Rays_1090813

 I need to be in the rain.

I was invited to sun, but not now.

Rain is my companion to weep.

I need to be in the rain.

I was invited to sun, but I am not ready.

I lost, she lost, and now, I don’t know.

I need to be in the rain.

If I cannot allow myself to be with thunder, then, I cannot heal.
I know me.  I need to be in the rain.

I will not sit soaked forever.

So invite me, again, to sun.

White_Petals_5277Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Empty Nest Update

August 16, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

White_Flower_4881  Hello Parents,

As children leave home for college, work, marriage, gap year, etc. parents reach out to me, sad and wondering, now what?

I have been so happy speaking and working with parents who are walking this milestone and wanting to get to know more about who they are beyond parenting.  They wonder about their relationships, role with their adult children (well, children heading towards adulthood), their spiritual side, creative side, wellness side, and what is next for them.  Some are care-taking parents and didn’t feel like they had time for emptiness or pondering the now what do I want to do with my free time?

Whether solo or partnering, life beyond parenting is a real transition.  What about the big house?  What about finding new meaning and developing their dream list? What are positive practices for daily living? How do you make changes to focus on you and not your kids? How do you build a new community beyond the school days, whether you are solo or partnering?

I want you to have a support community, which was my passion when I launched Empty Nest Support when my daughter was senior in high school year. I began with seven mothers in my living room. Now my daughter and all of our kids are living on their own, some uncertain about career paths and some developing their communities of interest and love.

I know what the journey felt like for me and I don’t want anyone to travel this new territory alone. This OPEN SPACE (that I call it, rather than empty nest term, which I don’t like), when you return home, is a reflective, resting time for some and for others, they want to get busy or live the list they put on hold.

Your school community ends.  Some people remain friends and some begin a new for friendships.    How do you build a new community? How do you discover what matters to you at this stage of life and how do you implement your new rhythm?

REd_White_Flower_P1100307I think you know what services I offer, which is listed on my website:

• Private sessions on and off the telephone, paid by check.
• Speaking engagements for your friends and community.
• Workshops and retreats, either in your hometown or another location.
• Mentoring
• Skype groups for group connections since travel is not often easy and people want to hear each other and receive concrete tips for support.
• Creative projects you know you want to do and need the support to move forward.

 “Transitions are places of pausing, feeling, floating above your life for a new view, thinking, and digging in the earth to cultivate parts of you that had to go dormant and now want to blossom. You find your rhythm over and over, and from that grounding, you step. Let someone meet you there.” – Natalie Caine
You are welcome to send me an email or call and let me know what you need. No one wants to go through this life transition without support.

Change happens. Build a community of support.

Does anything in this newsletter resonate with you?

Ocean_Light_6605

Take good care,
Natalie
natalie@lifeintransition.org
800-446-3310 Pacific Time, Los Angeles, Ca.
www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Life in Transition

August 15, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Garden_Path_119Whether chosen changes or unexpected, it truly is an opportunity to be gentle, and get to know parts of you that had to be tucked in your socks.

Now you find your new rhythm, over and over.

Now you begin to ask yourself questions. What matters to me today?  What do I appreciate about myself?

Now you check in daily, five times a day, asking HOW AM I DOING, WHAT AM I THINKING ABOUT, HOW AM I FEELING, WHAT DO I NEED TODAY and WHO CAN HELP ME? This becomes your new daily practice, and it honestly supports you. You know yourself better than you give yourself credit.

When I was working with a woman, she shared how she needs warnings about changes. She gets overwhelmed, which for her shows up by over eating and isolating. Her feelings freeze. Her head spins with worry.  I appreciate the courage in this woman to express who she is for now.  She was open to building new habits.

Here is a small road map built for her and maybe you:

1. Writing in bed for fifteen minutes about her feelings. “I am feeling so…, I did not expect this because…
2. Reminding herself to STOP thinking about the worries… say “STOP IT.”
3. Remembering, she did go through challenges before, and happiness returned. “Oh yeah, that was a terrible time and I got through it.”
4. Dream big. Engage your creative side and your imagination. You have a full range within you. So go within and chat with parts of you that you haven’t met yet, like the “WISE ONE.” Hello Wise One, what do you think about my…?”
5. Grieve for what isn’t happening and what did happen. Pour out those tears. Who wouldn’t be sobbing if this happened to them?
6. You are not being punished.
7. TRUST… each experience offers you practices in trusting yourself. You will be more than all right in time. You can handle the sorrow and the UNKNOWN. You have not been forgotten.

Change happens over and over in your life. Isn’t it too bad we weren’t taught in school how to handle changes? It is never too late to begin, again. I have lived a long list of changes from a young age.

There are times I just want to whine about going through them, again. I do whine. I do collapse. I do stand tall again.  In getting to know myself for who I am and who I am not, I know those behaviors are part of my coping skills of changes. Sometimes I shift. Sometimes I don’t.

I am grateful to be here. I am appreciative for who I am with me and with others.  That helps the tearful times when I am clueless, sad, and non-productive. I don’t see value in comparing myself to others. I am a value for myself and those I love. I put my voice in the room because I need to express and I can handle the responses.  It takes practice. It is worth practicing. Change does happen in happy ways.

You will be able to engage in other parts of yourself that are tucked in your socks.  They are patiently waiting to meet you.

Take good care,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Transitions

August 11, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Flowers_on_Rock_P1100394

 

 

I feel too much.  I am too sensitive.  I just can’t make a clear decision.  I need more help.

 

Who hasn’t heard those words in their head at some time?  We can’t always feel solid as a rock. Change happens. Here are a few tips for the road of change:

1. Be kind to YOURSELF. Catch yourself when you are being punishing to you and shift.
2. Make time to be open and to close.  Sometimes we are too open for too long when we needed to pause and rest, to stop and just not think or feel. Empty yourself and float in warm water images.
3. Your rhythm will change. You will bloom and you will seed.   You will have times where nothing seems visible. Trust yourself. Remember past times when you came through a rocky road.
4. Appreciate all you have been for others.
5. Take one step forward towards something that might lift you.  You do know what that is…maybe you just forgot until right now.
6. Be realistic by getting your expectations a reality check, not a fantasy view.
7. Allow yourself to dream big and not have to take an action right away.  Dream…
8. Say what you need to say to that person.  Find your words and let them know you feel awkward with this and still here you go…..

Transitions are entering the unknown and practicing making friends with just not knowing for now.  There are happy surprises in new rooms.

Take good care,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

Kitchen Full Of Kids, Not in the Empty Nest

August 10, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | 4 Comments

Tributary_P1100803

   Back to school is already happening.  Parents are checking the lists and encouraging their children’s hearts, saying, “all will be fine, it is going to be a fantastic year.”

   Then there is you, Mom and Dad.  I remember when I dropped my daughter off at college, three thousand miles from home.  I knew I would be fine and I knew I would be sad.  I did not    know what I wanted to do with the free time nor with the longing for the phone to ring with her on the other end.  Sure texts were a connection, but there is nothing like the sound of your child.

I remember in our support group, how we shared, that if our kids were happy, it made our day.  We wished that weren’t true, but in the beginning, their feelings affected our day.  Fortunately, that shifted.

Kitchen full of kids.  Don’t you just love those memories of them and their friends popping in and that somehow you had something for them to eat.  Well, that will happen, again.  It is not over.

What is shifting is your role as parents.  You are no longer the leader with your kids.  THEY LEAD NOW.  When you can accept that, even if you don’t like it, you won’t suffer resentment as much.  Your expectations will be more in reality.  They just aren’t going to call you every Sunday at 8.  You wouldn’t want to have to follow a schedule either.  Life happens for them. You want them to manage their life, more and more.  It isn’t easy letting go.  It will happen, though.  New passions grab your attention and then arrives new meaning beyond parenting.

This is your time to focus on you.  You don’t have to know for sure what’s next.  You will simply feel better by asking yourself, throughout your week:

• What matters to me now?
• How do I want to spend my time?
• Who do I want to spend more time with and less time with?
• What did I use to like to do when I wasn’t Mom or Dad?
• Do I just need time to do nothing?
• How am I feeling and what have I been thinking about? What do I need and how can I receive that?
• Getting to know more about you, is a good thing, when it comes to transitions.  You are not being selfish by focusing on you now.

Green_Foothills_P110828

I will share one short story of something fun I did in my more free time.
I love cooking. It is creative for me and relaxing.  I like being with kids.  So, I invited a group of kids to come over on Wednesday and one boy, who thought he wanted to be a chef, taught these kids  how to cook.

 

You will find your rhythm for what’s next for you.  You will miss your kids being around and you will also love the new openness of your life.  It isn’t a step by step manual to live in this stage of life. It is a meandering.

 

 

 

Take good care,
Natalie
Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Dispatches from the Not-So-Empty-Nest

July 2, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

chronogramNatalie was recently interviewed for an article that appeared at Chronogram. You can read the article in its entirety at Chronogram.com.

Below is an excerpt:

In the wake of her own daughter’s departure for college a decade ago, therapist Natalie Caine, MA, recognized strife among her circle of fellow parents. Many, like her, were transitioning to childless households, and struggling in various ways. Depression, resentment, and regret abounded, and Caine wanted to help. She started Empty Nest Support Services, and has been counseling parents ever since. This July 4-6, she’ll be co-conducting the workshop “Beyond the Empty Nest” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.

“The emptiness after a child leaves can actually be a wake-up call,” Caine says. “There’s a fabulous opportunity to find out who you are, and who you are not. From there, parents can begin to build inner resources, like courage, and outer resources, like travel, or a new career, or reconnecting with friends. I help parents make that new path happen. People use the workshop to get out of patterns, or find parts of themselves that are dormant, parts they didn’t even know they had; we get those to rise up. And everyone gets to tell their stories in a supportive group, which is great, because people feel isolated. In fact, the most common question I get is: ‘Is this normal?’”

Nine Things to Consider Before Moving Into a Smaller Home

June 27, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

ninethingsAs one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.

What advice would you give to couples who are downsizing?

NATALIE CAINE: We downsized after I spent six days at my friend’s 500-square-foot apartment in Manhattan. I didn’t go to my friend’s to practice living smaller; it just popped in as a wonderful new choice. We had many discussions about moving, and the living small just turned talks into action.

I returned to Los Angeles feeling invigorated to move forward. Our home of 15 years sold in 14 days. We put our furniture in storage and lived in a furnished Airbnb home in the area we thought would make us happy. Turned out to be true.

We bought a home (that process is another story) and are happy living smaller in a community that allows us to hike, walk the beach, and be in the city for a longer list of accessible fun. Change is a good thing. Change is not perfect.

Tips for you:

  1. Check in with yourself about what really matters at this stage of your life—wellness, creativity, living closer to family, spirituality, intellectual stimulation, fun, new community living, reduced financial pressures, etc.
  2. Are you wanting to reduce money fears more than you are afraid you won’t make new friends?
  3. Are you ready for a change that will give you a healthier lifestyle more than the work it takes to grieve, sort, donate, save, and clean before the goodbye party?
  4. Are you feeling stuck with the life you have and ready to take a trust leap a bit into the unknown? Trust meaning you can handle the results without hurting yourself or others, well define hurting others (sorry children, you won’t get the house you grew up in).
  5. Are you good at running the financial numbers? Consult with experts in finance and real-estate markets.
  6. Be open. I know that sounds obvious, but on weekends when I would head into the city and look at areas, which was time consuming for sure , as well as, discouraging at times, I didn’t think I would end up where we are. We ended up buying in an area that I didn’t think was possible. Two Sundays out of the month, over the years of living in the house, I use to drive to this area to their farmer’s market, even though we had a fantastic one. I did the drive because it felt like a vacation, every 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. No traffic, in nature, small community, walking city, clean air, and friendly people of all ages, as well as, the mountains and the beach. Also, be open to your experts. I didn’t think I needed to stage our home since I love decorating but the broker was correct. We staged and it was profitable.
  7. We thought we didn’t want stairs. We have steps and it is not a deal breaker.
  8. Go through your list of what you think you can’t live without and what you are willing to let go of in order to meet the top priorities of why you are downsizing. It helps to look at properties rather than sit at home and chat about the change. Your priorities get clearer when you spend the night in a hotel in that area and know what the night and day gives you, which is more of a reality check than going in and out of open houses. Chat with yourself about , “Am I in fantasy or reality about this choice?”
  9. No one wants to move, again. We told ourselves this does not have to be the last home we buy. Change will happen. We can hold both realities that we hope we don’t have to move, again, and we can handle it if change arrives, like needing more space for grandchildren, although that too can be creatively lived. After all, children know they are going to change and be different. Why do adults think they are done changing and being different than who they are today? You will be different as time moves forward and therefore your choices might be different.

In the end, choose what matters to you at this stage of life by knowing more about who you are and who you are not. If you hope to never move again, then walk that direction. Talk with yourself and your partner about what roles you will play in making this downsize happen. Pull up those new resources you need to enjoy the life you are heading towards. You will be grumpy. You will doubt your choice. You know yourself better than anyone, so listen to you and take pauses for this big decision.

What To Do When You Feel Unhappy?

June 23, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

Purple_Blossoms_P1090666 “A Course in Miracles”, book by Marianne Williamson, suggests to ask, as a practice daily, “Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say and to whom?”

Whether preparing for a change (empty nest, divorce, career, illness, loss) or sitting in it, people always ask what helps me? Sometimes weeping or simply stopping and resting, and sometimes nothing seems to help and then it does.

One tool I use throughout a day, is a daily practice. I like change so I don’t always do same same.  Sometimes it is a silent walk in nature, a prayer like the words above from Marianne Williamson, or closing my eyes and getting the chatter to quiet while breathing with awareness, reading poetry, short meditation to my imaginary favorite place in nature, writing whatever arrives in front of an empty page, maybe with the starter line, “today I need, today I love…”

The key is to begin something that comforts you and connects you beyond what you know or feel…opening to the moment and getting relaxed.   I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel agitated or uncertain at times. I use to light a candle and simply look at the flame, noticing what thoughts are in my head, how I lose focus of the flame, and when I hear nothing within.

I take out my pastels or black drawing pen and begin, I listen to a song and lie on the floor. I ask for help from within, “help me…”  I say what I am grateful for.  You will find choices for your daily practice.

Eventually, they will become integrated into your day, like brushing your teeth. No big deal.  One of the benefits is that you become your own best friend/guide, and you become better at holding opposites, like, “yes this is so terrible for me AND it could be worse AND this won’t last forever.”

We don’t always have a friend to call in the moment. We are simply trial and error when it comes to comfort, decisions, and change.  Reach out before or when you are at your breaking point.  You know you better than you think you do.

Color_Waves_P1090813Take good care,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Empty Nest, Now What?

June 18, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | 2 Comments

Sunburst_Petals_5283Congratulations, parents. Shoulders down. Your child is on their way to college.
I have sat where you now sit.  Proud and excited.  It is bittersweet.

Your children are packing up for their dreams. You are viewing an empty chair at the kitchen table.  Now what?

How do you walk this major life transition?

I remember that flight back home from the New York dorm, where my daughter began college, 3,000 miles from home.  I was alone in a plane, wheels up and my tears falling uncontrollably down.

The flight attendant came over, “Are you alright? Can I get you something?”  I didn’t want to speak. I motioned with my hand over my heart and a nod.  She got that I was ok.  I didn’t get that, yet.  I leaned my head against the tiny airplane window, Kleenex in hand.
I just needed a deep grieving cry.  I let myself have it. I was surprised by the depth of my sadness.  I knew I would be sad, but didn’t know I would sob.

My daughter and I are close.  She wasn’t home much junior and senior high school year.  That is not the same as no more school days, no more day to day with her, her friends, or even parents and teachers you have known for years.

Your parenting role changes.  Community changes.  Changes to what?   Who are you beyond parenting?

Welcome to the UNKNOWN, to your next joyous and challenging chapter of life?  Whether you work, stayed at home, or volunteered,  all parents, married or solo, that I have spoken with across the country, at some time, go through a grieving for what was and is now, instantly different

Everyone grieves differently. Some parents don’t miss their children because high school was challenging and exhausting.  They were ready to hug goodbye.   They aren’t clear what comes next for them now that their children don’t need them in the same way.

Five tips to a new roadmap:

  1. Be gentle with yourself daily.  Delete the need to compare yourself with your neighbor.   Some people jump into being busy.  Others need time unplanned.  Ask yourself, “What do I need today and how can that happen?”
  2. Practice checking in with yourself.  Empty nest is a time to learn more about who you are and who you are not. From there, you begin to pull up inner and outer resources. Both are needed during changes.   What are you thinking about?  What feelings are popping up?  How are you spending your days and nights?  What needs more attention and what needs less?   Open time to explore who you are today.
  3. Make a list of compliments people have given you over the years, “You are so organized.  You always have creative solutions.  Love the way you dress. What a great cook you are.  Wish I had your discipline to work out.”
  4. What did you use to do for fun before marriage and children?  What did you do after school?  The arts, ride your bike, sports, social organizer, and ?
  5. Write yourself a love letter. “Dear Kate… I love how you listen to your kids and then ask them questions so they can come up with ideas for themselves.  I love how you rest and shut the door with a do not disturb sign.  I love that you said to them that you were wrong.  What a great role model.  Kate, your kids know you believe in them.”  Write this kind of letter to yourself and then read it out loud to YOU.  Tuck it in your drawer to read, again, any time.

Flower_Buds_P10190713People always ask me, “How long will I feel sad and unmotivated? Did your life get happier? Did you find something to do that mattered?”

Some people heal in a month, others a year.  I had a parent call for a telephone session. She shared that she was fine until her daughter graduated college.  Then she felt depressed and confused.  She wept.   Each of us grieves on our own time and in our own ways. Parents ask me how to build a more adult to adult relationship with their children? One answer is to notice unrealistic expectations with them.  ”Call me at eight every Sunday?”

I had no idea the day I walked off the airplane and opened the door to my daughter’s empty, messy room, that the aching would end to be her everyday mom. Married, career woman, friendships, and creativity didn’t erase missing my daughter. What did land on the page were new parts of myself that had to go dormant while parenting.  Photography, writing, a new career, and more.

No one wants to go through changes alone. That is why I built empty nest support services in order to help parents through this joyous and challenging transition, finding what’s next for them and how to build an adult to adult relationship with their children.

Natalie Caine, M.A. is owner of Empty Nest Support Services, which provides one-on- one sessions, on or off the telephone, speaking engagements for your community, workshops, support groups, and mentoring. She recently moved to Pacific Palisades, CA.

Call for support and further information.

Take good care,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.
Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454 0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.
Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

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Father’s Day

June 12, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

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A dad shared with me, on the telephone, about his daughter leaving for college, “I don’t know if I have prepared her for catastrophes? Does she know how to take cover, to run fast, to scream?”

He was feeling anxious about this major change around the corner. He felt the clock of connection ticking down and he wanted to assess what a father wants for his children.

As he shared more and I offered suggestions, I asked, “What do you adore about your daughter?”  ”She is funny and perseveres no matter the hurdle.” “What do you think she adores about you?” He said, “I don’t really know.”  Do you think she loves you?”  “Oh for sure.”

Love is an action and sometimes a knowing.   He decided, after our telephone sharing, to ask her about his concerns and get her intake. He wanted to tell her he would be fine and there for her even if she feared getting in trouble.   He also said,” I just want her to know I have made mistakes and they make me over react.  I want her to know I will miss her.  I am happy for her. She will love college.”

I suggested he write her a love note and stick it in her suitcase for a surprise when she unpacks at the dorm.  This is what I love about you… this is what I wish for you … this is what I believe about you….( I wrote that letter to my daughter and added doodles and polka dots on the papers when she headed to college. )

Love motivates us to teach , to be available, to handle the unknown, to say sorry, to try again, to be more than we think we can be in the moment, and so much more.

I remember when my dad died, I was devastated. Then I remembered, I am a mom and I need to go comfort my daughter who heard me sobbing.  She had a pillow over her ears.  I sat on her bed and said,” Yes, grandpa died (she was 11).  I am so sad and I will be OK.  You don’t have to do anything for me but let me be whatever I am going to be.”  I also told her, “You know what; grandpa really knew you loved him.  He knew it.   He deeply loved you, too, and so often talked about you.  You made him happy. ”

Mountain_Sunset_5177Father’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate the anchor they are and the love, whether shown or known, they generously extend to us.  Visit the happy memories and make new ones.

Happy Father’s Day,
Natalie

Natalie Caine, M.A. natalie@lifeintransition.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310