Before you ask the question, “Is this crazy lady EVER going to talk about anything but her empty nest experience?!”
Yes. I promise.
But I’ve given myself the month of June to “actively process” this new normal. I’m the type of person who processes by talking thing through. The really personal stuff is landing in my journal. Some of the “this is what I’ve learned” is landing here.
But I promise – pinky promise, even – to not let it be the only topic of conversation past the end of the month. It may still come up from time to time . . . but it won’t be the dominant topic of conversation!
When my kids were itty bitty, my role was clear – keep them fed, dressed, clean. . . fairly easy even if it was slightly sleep-depriving.
The toddler and pre-school years brought the demand for a watchful eye with a curious, mobile child. Educational play, outings to the park and potty training rounded out the experience of those years.
School years? Bring on homework, dance classes, little league, sleepovers . . . their social circle grows and shifts as they grow.
With the teen years, the challenge of “how much freedom is enough” arises. They want more say in running their own life and you want to keep them away from bad influences and lousy choices.
Then they become adults. Suddenly, you are not an active participant in their lives anymore. You move from the playing field to the sidelines. You are now a spectator.
But there are things you can – should – do when parenting adults.
You can . . .
. . . agree to a web chat when a duckling living out of town asks.
. . . schedule or agree to a lunch date.
. . . send a random text to let them know you love them.
. . . plan a day trip to visit a married daughter and her hubby.
. . . spend a private moment with your daughter on her wedding day and let her know that you will always love her.
. . . always have sleeping space available when ducklings living out of town want to visit.
. . . re-affirm, as needed, that your daughter’s instincts are trustworthy when it comes to her newborn daughter.
I’m still learning where the line is. What line you ask? That line that stands between a healthy mother/adult child relationship and being a meddling mother. The trick is, I’ve discovered that the line is in a different place for each of my ducklings.
But I know one thing for sure – since all four kids are grown and gone, I should probably consider ditching the mom van. I don’t exactly need it anymore!