Now What?

Submitted by Marina Hodson

This is not the first time I have written about kids going back to school, but what if they are also leaving home?  It is one thing to have our children head off for the first day ever; it is another to end an average summer and return to grade 7 or 8… Then comes the day in September when going back to school means moving out!

How do you deal with that “empty nest syndrome”?  Missing your “little ones”; thinking you are” losing connection”?  Like most things in life, it is in the perspective.  It is very easy to look at the things we do not have, for me that would be the millions in the bank; but it is far more productive, and healthier, to look at what we have achieved.  Your children have left home – wow, you have done the most important part of parenting and prepared your child to be independent. Congratulations. 

I have been speaking to friends this week about their struggle with their children heading off to university and the emptiness this leaves in their lives and all I can say is “you must be so proud”.  As a parent, all I ever wanted was to impart in my son the feeling of independence and self-confidence to allow him to move on and become a man; so while I missed him, the day he left home, was the most successful day of my parenting career.  Don’t get me wrong, it leaves a terrible void, but find ways to address this.

Recognize the successes both you and your children have had and find ways to celebrate them rather than mourn.  Have you been able to enjoy the city they have chosen for this new adventure?  What will you learn about economics, politics, medicine…. by chatting about their chosen educational path – a free education by proxy.  And most importantly, at the end of the day, do not underestimate the importance of reconnecting with your spouse or yourself.  It may seem difficult at first, but like retirement, this new-found freedom is well deserved and much needed, so enjoy it.

So take pride in their accomplishment and acknowledge that you prepared them for this new adventure.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT