Empty Nest: Two of a Kind?

Empty Nest


Last month I returned home feeling blue from a weekend visit to see our daughter at college. I barked at my husband on the car ride home. (That’s when I spoke to him.  Mostly I sulked and read the NYTimes).  I’m getting better, however, because this time the wave of sadness passed more quickly. When she returned to school recently after an extended winter break, I found myself teary-eyed and experienced separation anxiety all over again.  This time I was angry at myself for still being upset when we left her. After all, my daughter is doing extremely well.  She has adjusted beautifully. What’s wrong with me? When am I going to adjust to my new life without her around?

Part of the problem is that I so strongly identify with her, I sometimes feel like I can barely breathe without her.  It doesn’t help that we look alike (or so everyone says) and that we are extremely close.  And even though I knew this was coming, I failed to properly prepare myself. Anyway, for some clarity, and while I was not sleeping last night, I made a list of all the ways we are different.

She is soft-spoken, sweet and a bit shy.  I tend to be louder.
She is generally even-tempered, and takes things in stride.  I need lots of yoga to stay calm.

She is tall and I’m 5’3 on a good day.
She knows when she’s had enough.  I  prefer to drive myself to exhaustion.
She gets over things quickly.  I can hold a grudge for years.

I hate to fly and prefer to travel by car to familiar places.  She likes adventure.
I’m a notorious worrier.  She thinks my worrying is over-the-top (it is.)
I love to hike.  She won’t take a walk if her life depends on it.
I was miserable my first year of college.  She’s loving it.
I like to follow politics.  She follows football.

So you see, we hardly have anything at all in common!  I shouldn’t have trouble focusing on myself and what I’d now like to do with my life, distinct from her. But in the meantime, only seven more days until her spring break – I can hardly wait!  I’ll bet I won’t even notice when she’s gone back to school next time.

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About Grown and Flown

Parenting from the Empty Nest
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One Response to Empty Nest: Two of a Kind?

  1. momshieb says:

    Oh, I bet you’ll notice!!
    And as for preparing yourself for the separation……I don’t buy it! We miss them because we miss them. We like them, we really really like them! And we like when they rest within our reach. For me, a mother of three healthy, happy “grown and flowns”, the sadness is just that I miss them like hell. It doesn’t matter how happy or successful they are; this isn’t about THEM! It’s about ME! I miss my babies, my toddlers, my kiddos, my crew.
    Wow. That was the least supportive comment i have ever left.
    What I meant to say is: You’re doing great! Next time she leaves, you’ll hardly even notice! 🙂


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