In our parenting group, I suggested they write a LETTER to their child about what they appreciate about them and what they, the parents, learned from them. Of course, I passed around the softest Kleenex as parents wrote their notes to their children. I too had tears, even though my daughter is years beyond that hug goodbye at the dorm.
Then we talked about what does each parent HOPE for themselves and dream to become? This was a challenging write. Hearing each other share how they haven’t focused on themselves and don’t really know what’s next for them, helped everyone not feel alone on this milestone change.
Everyone said this preparing time is so busy with graduation, open houses, to do list for purchases and mailing, that the anxiety and tears mostly fall in the night. They know once they are back home, the emptiness and SILENCE at home will be heartfelt.
Have a list of MOVIES you want to watch, freeze some MEALS for yourself, let one or two FRIENDS know you would like them to come over when back home, PARTNERS plan something for each other and have that be a surprise and maybe consider taking a short TRIP after the college drop off for a fun adventure in that part of the world.
Life gets more FUN beyond the empty nest. Each person travels with their own shoes and stumbles, sits to weep, and to dream. You carry both the new freedom and the missing of the ROLE you had that changes when they leave after high school graduation.
Take good care,
Natalie Caine, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org