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After The Pandemic
March 12, 2020. This is the day I became a re-nester after the global pandemic. Fifteen months later, they have moved out. I am an empty nester again. Over 50% of adult kids headed back home to live with their parents as colleges shut down, were furloughed or let go from their job.
I’ve lived on my own several times and each time one of my daughters leaves the nest, a piece of my heart leaves with them. It’s weird to feel this way. I’ve always prided myself on being one of those moms who are proud to watch their adult kids out on their own. To me, it signifies that I have done my job. That I have raised them to be independent, both financially and emotionally. That is the exact advice my mom gave me when they were born. She told me “children are lend-lease and you have 18 years to raise them to be self-sufficient, independent, kind, and caring adults. Of course, she also told me children are forever.
But, tbh, it gets harder each time they leave and I again am an empty nester.
Saying Goodbye To My Younger Daughter
My younger daughter returned to New York a few weeks ago but this time without her sister who took a job in Miami. We said a quick goodbye at 8 am because she was half asleep. I knew her sister was moving out a few weeks later. This meant I was one step closer to a double in-your-face reintroduction to empty nesting.
A lump forms in my throat as I hug her goodbye. I let myself accept that, in this moment, it’s okay to be sad. What I need is to not dismiss my feelings. I have shed many tears over the years saying goodbye. Leaving for college goodbyes. More goodbyes each time they would come home for a college break and leave again. Goodbye when they each moved out. Of course, some were happy tears were because they were so grown up and such strong young ladies.
The Past 15 Months
But with the pandemic coming to an end, they needed to move out. Not because I wanted them out. Mainly, they needed to move on because they said it was easy living with me. We are all compatible. When we realized this living arrangement could go on for quite some time, I knew it would be the only time in our lives that we would live together as adults. IMO, I felt blessed to share this time with them even though I felt bad that they were forced into this situation. They hated when I would say I feel bad you have to live with me. As they stated, we have a great relationship and they appreciated that they could come home again.
But, they were not growing as young adults. When you move out in your twenties, you are learning more responsibilities. College was their introduction to being independent. And almost every parent of a college student will tell you how fast the time goes and how much they grow up in those four short years. Then, after they move out after graduation and are working, they grow up even more. They learn to take care of their finances, find a balance between working and going out, take care of their living environment, meal plan, and all the extras that go with being on their own.
And Older Daughter Moves Out
Today was the day my older daughter moved out. My sister sent me a text that said “hope you’re excited for this new chapter for you.” Immediately, I sent back a text saying “I don’t look at it as a new chapter. Just re-reading a book I already read.” She replied, “well, maybe you will rewrite this chapter and your experience will be different.” And there is that lump again as I close the garage door, go inside my home and realize it is just me again. Of course, I still have my adorable cat who also has picked up on the girls being gone.
And, while it was a long time ago, I still vividly recall moving out of my parent’s home after a short stint of living with them after college. My sister and I were so excited to be on our own. The rational side of being a mom knows empty-nesting again is exactly how it should be. It’s just that I will miss everything they taught me. Yes, my daughters taught me in an odd reversal of roles.
Of course, we will still speak every day either in text or on the phone. The one living in South Florida will come for dinner or I’ll drive to meet her for dinner. I’ll visit my daughter in NY or she will come for visits.
The last time I was on my own, my days were full. I was managing my blog, spending time with my elderly mom, getting together with friends, playing Mah Jongg, and traveling. Aside from travel, which I sincerely hope to resume, I have restarted almost all of those activities.
But today, my house is quiet again. I’ll miss cooking for them and with them. I’ll miss our daily evening talk seshes and watching our shows. So today I will give myself permission to shed a few tears and be sad they are gone. Tomorrow I will begin empty-nesting… again.