Thoughts on Empty Nesting One Year In

Last year, we moved our youngest daughter to college at the end of July. There are some things about this empty nest no one prepared me for.

Twenty seven years ago, the first of three precious daughters entered my life. From that point to now, I have collected my fair share of unsolicited advice. A big piece of that: doom and gloom about the year our last one would leave home.
Well here we are, almost one year into it. Last year, we moved our youngest daughter to college at the end of July. Our middle daughter moved out in November. Our oldest had already gone, came back and gone again. There are some things no one prepared me for in all that doom and gloom I had collected. I would like to share them, in hopes of better preparing others.

Simple life

First off, it is a ton cheaper to eat out when you are paying for two meals instead of five. Grocery bills go down. Power bills are less. The bathroom is no longer sticky with hair spray on every corner, except when they come to visit. “Alone time” can happen anytime. Who left the light on is much easier to discern. You can pack up for a quick trip anywhere on a whim in five minutes, anytime, anyplace. There will be no arguing in the car on said impulsive road trip.

Children become friends

Second, instead of rules and disciplinary discussions, there are deep discussions about life decisions. Those friends are priceless. I buy the girls things now because I want to, not because it is expected or required. When they have time, I get to meet them for lunch, coffee, or shopping. I can look at their messy rooms and leave without a second thought – it’s not my house. I can choose to worry or I can choose to trust in the strong young women we raised them to be.

Once a mom

Third, if you expect it to be bad, chances are it will. But, if you have done your job well, and they have done theirs well, you will still be a part of their life. It is not over. Adulting can be hard. They will still need support and encouragement at times. My role as their mother has been changing over the last few years. Seriously, it feels like in one blink, they went from 12 to 20-something. But that is a good thing.
There have been some bumps in the road. I don’t want you to think there haven’t been. Some relational adjustments had to take place. But now, both our roads are wide open. Another great adventure has begun. That saying “dance like no one is watching” I can do that around the house now. No one will roll their eyes and say, “No, Mom! Don’t!” I can turn my music up as loud as I like. Heck, I could even dance naked if I wanted to…as long as the curtains are closed!