An empty nester’s back-to-school blues
I have always looked forward to the back-to-school routine and beautiful fall weather. This year was an exception—I was dreading it. My husband and I dropped off our youngest child at the University of Illinois last weekend. Don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that all three of our children are pursuing their dreams. I would not want it any other way. But when we said our final goodbyes, and he went back to his new home, the dorm, the tears started flowing.
I was anticipating being emotional at this milestone, but it is when I came home to a quieter and cleaner home that it hit me. We are officially empty nesters. For the past 23 years, I have loved every minute (well most) of being a mom. Now what? Little things would remind me of my children in their younger days. Like when I was driving to work this week and all the neighborhood kids were waiting for the bus in their new backpacks and outfits. Their parents were with them to celebrate and share in this excitement. I was happy for them, but a little sad that I would no longer be there to capture this moment.
Ok, enough of the pity party. I know this is supposed to be the time of my life, and I will embrace this experience as a new adventure. After all, my husband I have been planning for this time for years.
We have been blessed with good health, careers that we are passionate about and organizations that we volunteer for, which add meaning to life. We have friends and family that enrich our lives immeasurably. We have renewed our favorite hobbies including tennis and golf. We even bought a motorcycle (never thought I would do this) last year that we enjoy cruising around with friends to new and remote places. We love to travel, and now we don’t need to worry about the teens having a big party in the house. I also have a long bucket list: Take piano lessons, learn to paint, act, etc.
At times, though, I just remind myself to enjoy the quiet and just embrace this newfound freedom and relax. However we spend our time in our empty nest, in the back of my mind I will be counting the days until parents’ weekend.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.