Your children have moved out. You are now sans kids. What the hell happened to your life? Where did the time go? We never really thought about being prepared for that dreaded moment when our kids would move out. It was always years away.
It seems like only yesterday we were at the clinic finding out that we were about to become parents.
Twenty-six years have gone by since that day.
Any parent reading this knows how fast that time goes by. All those years we thought would never end, that we wanted to pass by before they drove us crazy.
The first year was learning how to care for an infant.
The terrible twos, who could forget those delightful days of learning and embarrassment!
How about the first day of school? We are not afraid to admit how we cried after dropping them off.
Junior High and all the crazy emotions that came with adolescent hormones. Then high school. Watching your little kid, who is not so little anymore, learn to become an adult.
All of these moments that make up our lives. Each memory, whether good or bad, becoming precious to us when our children have moved out. As parents, we are proud they have moved out, but damn it hurts.
Now that they have moved out we look back on those memories and wish we could relive them all again.
Prepare for those feelings.
Be prepared for waking up to a house that now seems so silent.
Know that there are nights you will wake up, sit in their old rooms and cry for the emptiness that seems to permeate your home. Your children leaving the house is going to be a traumatic experience.
We try to pretend that it isn’t going to be a problem. We tell ourselves that our kids are not leaving us for good. I’m going to tell you a little secret here. It is sure going to feel like your kids are.
Feelings, they kind of suck right?
The good news? It is going to get better. Is it going to get better fast? Nope, not a chance.
Be prepared for your irrational self to be stupid. You are going to want to call them every day.
You will want them to ask permission to do things, guess what? They are not going to do that.
You know those little adults you tried to raise? You did a good job, but you are going to have to let them be the adults you raised. All those mistakes we made growing up, they will have to make some of them too.
Feelings? Those are for the Weak.
Oh, you poor, poor deluded soul. There is probably going to be one of you in the relationship that is going to say they are good with the child leaving.
Watch out for this one.
Seriously. Unless they hated each other, there is going to be some hidden reactions going on. This might be subtle like sleeping more each day. Or could express itself in an increase in drinking or other such destructive behavior.
It might even affect your relationship.
You’ve been married long enough to know how this works.
We often take our emotions out on our spouse.
Is this fair or right? No, but we know that it happens.
The trouble with this happening at this time is that we are also dealing with our sense of loss. Instead of comforting each other in this time of loss we start to view our lifelong partner as the enemy.
All is fair in love and war.
This is the time to remember that this is love and not war. You’ve made it this far in life as a couple, hold on for a few more months.
We know that this time in your lives can be hell. We have been there. There is an end to the loss you both are feeling. Well, there can be an end, as long as you remember that person across from you is not your enemy.
You have to learn to be a couple again, to be the friends you started out as. This is the time to share your loss, to trust each other, and believe in each other.
Love your spouse as you did in that first year of marriage, be there for each other like you were there for your kids all those years.
Remember that the person sitting across from you has seen you at your best and at your worst and loves you still, just like you love them.
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