Sunday, March 6, 2016

Facing An Empty Nest Is Bittersweet

This is a year full of changes for our family.  The biggest change is to see our  daughter's last year of High School end and sending her off to college in the fall.  When your children are babies and you are waking up for 2 am feedings it seems like the time that they go out on their own is in the very distant future. Let me just say that that time goes very fast and before you know it you will be through the first day of school, through the adolescent years, and finally seeing them off to adulthood.

At this moment you may need to tell yourself over and over that this is what parenthood is all about.  Everything leads up to the moment when you see them off into the world. All you can hope for is you helped to give them the tools to make decisions on their own that will have a positive impact on their young adult life. 

Being a rather shy- afraid to do things kind of child myself, It took me many years to finally build up enough confidence to do things on my own.  I still have a ways to go, but I wanted to bring up my daughter to have a solid sense of herself and enough independence to think for herself, and realize there is a big wide world out there.  I wanted her to know that she can do anything she wants (within reason of course).  That there is a level of fear in the unknown but each time you take a step to conquer that fear you build up a bit of confidence and the next thing you try, that is just a little bit  more daunting, is within reach.  After several baby steps, you really do believe you can do anything.

As a parent it is hard to accept that your child is at this point. Some parents suffer great anxiety when their kids go off on their own for the first time.  You spend all these years nurturing them, making them the center of your world and then one day you find yourself looking around an empty house and the thought of "what do I do next" creeps in.  Now is the time to immerse yourself in a favorite hobby, or get out and meet people.  It truly is your time to shine.  No matter what you never stop being a parent, but now it's their time to take the reins and steer themselves down their own path.  I know I will never stop worrying and they know you are only a phone call away.

I have a few months until my daughter graduates from High School and then goes off to college at the end of summer.  She's my only child so I've never been through this before and I honestly do not know how I will react. I'm thinking I will be texting her something like 5 times a day at first at which every time I will be able to see her eyes roll whenever she sees my name come up on her phone.  I just know that I am incredibly proud of her and the young adult she has become.

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