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Letting go, again (or, fluffing my empty nest)

boys hanging from swing set

It’s their time to fly

Last weekend, I helped my youngest son move into the dorms.

Our nest is empty.

My husband and I have been looking forward to this new freedom, anticipating it as our kids grew, making goals for Life After Children. Not because we don’t enjoy having them around, but because we wanted to have a solid relationship that could stand on its own when they were both out of the house.

I believe we accomplished that, but there’s definitely an adjustment period where I have to learn to let go of my baby, let go of knowing what’s happening in his life day to day, let go of missing the random conversations at odd moments that I treasure most.

Two years ago, I wrote the post below when my oldest son moved out. Now that my youngest is away at school too, I can’t explain my feelings any better than I did last time.

Letting go, 8/27/14

My oldest son left home for college last week. It was both easier and harder than I expected.

He’s been working toward this moment for years, and it feels like we’ve been planning, visiting schools, and talking about test scores, grades, and financial aid forever. I was ready. He’s a solid, responsible, mature kid. This has always been our dream/plan for him, and he got into his first-choice university. I was ready.

But then as we said goodbye and walked away from his dorm on Saturday I realized that he was truly out of the house. Out. Gone. An adult who would come visit on breaks and during the summer, but with whom we’d no longer share the daily routine of home, the spontaneous conversations, dinners out on the weekend.

Yes, we are connected via text messages, email, phone calls, FaceTime, and airplanes. Yes, he’ll be back when school’s out next summer. But it’s not the same.

Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’ll never be.

That old cliché that “they grow up so fast” is a cliché for a reason. I can’t believe my eight-pound baby boy is now a freshman in college, making his own way in the world, (mostly) without us.

I’m happy for him, proud of him, and happy for us. I’m excited for him because he’s exactly where he wants to be, doing what he wants to do.

I’m also sad.

Letting go was easy because I trust him and believe in him. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

4 Comments

  1. Lison Dubreuil

    Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    Your message is so warm, so tender and so true at the same time.
    Time pass much faster than we realize.
    Nothing better than the warmth of a family in love.
    Thanks a lot to share your thoughts.
    Lison,

  2. Reply

    Now both son and parents have reached another stepping stone in life’s adventure. Congrats to your son for receiving his first school choice. My advice to him would be to go straight to the library after each day of classes, do all of his required reading and homework there– then return to the dorm, where oftentimes university social life can impede even a little bit on one’s academics. And congrats to you and your husband on “more alone” time. Peace.

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