Empty Nest- Never Truly Empty

I’m the parent of an adult. When did this happen?

Where does the time go? That’s a question that we have asked ourselves many times.

My oldest daughter left the nest almost three weeks ago. Walking past her empty room was hard. I would stop in front of the room and break down crying.

Though she only moved a few blocks from home it was the fact that she was no longer under the same roof as me.

Three to four calls a day from my daughter is helping the emptiness I feel inside. I am adapting to the new change just as she is.

I know that I still needed my Mother after I left home and I believe she still needs me. I’m recognizing that now she has turned into a young woman she has a different need.

She doesn’t need me to ground her from the phone, because she cut class or lecture her on what clothes she’s wearing. (Though I must admit that some habits are hard to break.)

She now needs to be able to come to me and vent about her boyfriend or ask me advice on how to get mildew smell out of carpets after the apartment floods. (That did happen recently.)

I already see our relationship changing and I look forward to that change. On Sunday she celebrated her 19th birthday and I admit that it was nice to be able to sit back and have a few drinks and laughs with her.

Parenting is a life-long commitment. You never stop worrying about your children no matter how old they are.

Parenting still continues after children leave home. It’s just a different kind of parenting now and I need to adjust to that change.

I need to learn not to just give my opinion, but ask if she wants to hear it. The last thing I want to be is a controlling mom. I also need to learn not to coddle her as much as I do.

Recognizing my daughters need for independence has been a huge challenge for me, but I know that she needs to be independent. After all it’s part of the circle of life.

Your children may leave home, but your nest will never truly be empty.

To those of you with small children if I can give you any advice at all today it’s this: Don’t blink because the moment that you do; your 15 year old son is in love for the first time, your daughter has turned 19 and embarking on a life of her own.

Cherish even the smallest moments, because it all goes by so fast. My daughter stepped into adulthood over night. To her I say “Please be patient with me. I’m still learning the ropes.”

I hope when my son leaves home in a few years I’ll be ready.

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