Almost everything I have read while anticipating and newly experiencing the empty nest defined it in negative terms. When Googling the empty nest, words surrounding it include syndrome, coping, grief, depression, loneliness, loss of purpose, worry, and stress. It sounded horrible and something to be avoided at all costs. I briefly debated between never allowing my children to leave and bracing myself for the onslaught of this dreaded affliction, but I knew I would be stifling my children if I didn’t allow them to experience the independence that they were designed to attain. The fact that children have the confidence and knowledge to move beyond the four walls of their childhood home is a testament to our success as parents.
I have found the empty nest to be a time of joy, freedom, and celebration. I am not lying awake, listening for the key in the front door in the wee hours of the morning. The clutter and laundry only belongs to my husband and I. When we get together with our children, it is because they want and choose to spend time with us. We love hearing tales of their new adult lives, and we have new tales to tell them as well. We have the freedom to travel without much forethought about logistics surrounding the children. We no longer have bathroom wars over anyone taking too long or leaving it in poor condition. My husband and I enjoy each other and the extra space.
While we will always miss our children and treasure the memories of the years they were under our roof, it’s time to take an optimistic look at a job well done in raising our children to successfully fly away from the nest.