Emptying the Nest
“To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you, means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own” – unknown ….but nobody said it is easy. I have now sent two children off to college, and I am weeks away from sending our last one…our baby. It doesn’t get any easier. In fact, it gets harder.
The summer leading up to sending our first off, was filled with a lot of anxiety, panic, tears and excitement. I loved college. I mean LOVED college. My daughter was going to be going to the same small liberal arts college that both my husband and I graduated from, Wofford College. We know Wofford College backwards and forwards. In fact quite a few of our professors are still there. I knew she would love it and grow into a secure, intellectual, independent woman in the following four years. Yet, I was still so sad….for myself. At the end of a very long move in day, which was filled with orientation meetings for both the students and the parents, we got into our car to make the four hour drive home. Our daughter walked us to our car. We were all trying desperately to hold back tears as the inevitable goodbye was upon us. When we got to the car, she pulled out a letter that she had written to us. My husband pulled out a letter he had written to her. Guess who had not written a letter??? Me!!! I had been so busy packing her for college that week, it didn’t even dawn on me to write a letter. We said our sad goodbye….nervously laughing….still fighting back tears. Once we drove away…the tears flowed. The letter sat on the dashboard. I actually couldn’t read it for THREE days. It was a very long, quiet drive home. The next few days were very quiet as well. Those first weeks without her were not fun.
In less than two months, we will be taking our baby girl to Clemson. A large university that we know very little about. We don’t know the campus. We don’t know the professors. I can’t picture in my head what her day will look like. I can’t picture in my head what her classrooms will look like. I am feeling much more anxious sending her than I have with my other two combined. (Our middle child also chose Wofford.) Part of it is the unknown. Part of it is that she is my baby, and a big part of it is we are going to be empty nesters. WHAT? Aren’t we too young to be empty-nesters. Aren’t we still supposed to have kids running around the house? Aren’t I still supposed to be cooking dinner for lots of people? Who is going to have a dance party with me after dinner?
I have decided that as soon as we move her into Clemson, I am going to take a trip with my girlfriends. I will need something to look forward to and a distraction. I am doing this with my other friends who will be sending their kids off too. We will all know what each other is going through and will be able to laugh, cry and hug our way through the weekend…..and enter the new chapter of our lives together.
Sending kids off to school or into the great big world is tough. If you think you need some time to reset and settle into your new reality, come spend a few days in August or September with us at Anchorage 1770. Grab some friends or your spouse and disconnect for a while. Believe me, we know what you’re going through!