It's official…my baby is gone to college. I dropped him off at a house he'll be sharing with several other students for a few weeks until the dorms open. Several hundred deep breaths later, vowing not to think about that house too much, or how far away it is, I think I'm good with my empty nest, and here's why.
It's where your child needs to be. It's time for them to spread their wings and fly. Solo. You've done the work of supporting them through the scrapes and bruises of life and love. Now they've got to figure out some things on their own, like how to get laundry done, food purchased, money managed, and perhaps what to do with their life.
It's where you need to be. You've spent 18 or so years raising them. Hopefully you've focused you yourself as well. But whether you've had enough you-time or not, this is your opportunity to devote more energy to your needs, goals and desires.
It's where your relationship needs to be. Don't have a relationship? No problem. It's time to work on getting one. Already in a relationship? It's time to focus on where that's going and where you'd like it to go.
It's time to consider the future. Your career, relationships and bucket list are open to inquiry. You're not spending as much time on kid-related activities. What would you like your life to look like in 5 years? 10 years? This is a great time to start planning ahead.
It's time to have margaritas with the girls. I'll admit it. This is one of the first things I did. And I did it on a school night. Kick back and relax in whatever form that takes. You don't have to worry about homework getting done, clothes being washed or bedtimes observed. It's all about you baby.
It's time to let go. Yes, you still have a tremendously important role as a parent. And yes, you really have to let go. In case you failed to realize that you probably didn't know where your child was at 10:00, now you must accept that you definitely do not know. And it's okay. You've taught the important lessons and values. Now it's time for you to trust your child to act on these independently.
You might want to get on this pretty quick. With all the kids returning home to live with their parents after college, my plan is to enjoy it while I can.