First Impressions of the Empty Nest
The last fledgling has flown.
Over the past six years, our three children have left home for college, marriage, and the Navy. This summer I’ve been adjusting to my empty nest, and I’ve learned a few lessons.
- Allow yourself to mourn. “You’ll love the empty nest!” my friends said. But I didn’t. I grieved. Not only did I miss my kids, but I mourned the end of my full-time mothering years. It’s natural to mourn, so be kind to yourself—I didn’t schedule much work that week and I treated myself to a few comfort foods.
- Don’t transfer guilt to your child. Your child has his own adjustments, which can be difficult. Please don’t make him feel guilty for leaving you. Let him hear your joy in seeing him in flight: “Of course I miss you, but I’m thrilled for you!” Save your tears for your spouse and best friends.
- Move on. Don’t stay in your grief. It isn’t healthy. If you cry every time you go into her room, don’t go into her room. Lean hard on the Lord. Reconnect with your spouse and friends, and find something to give you purpose—get a job, volunteer, take a class, or try a hobby. I strongly recommend the book Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight by Marci Seither.
In time you’ll come to enjoy the freedom and quiet of the empty nest.
Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a 2016 Carol Award finalist and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com, http://www.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor, and http://twitter.com/sarahsundin.
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