My Emptying Nest – Embracing and Coping with Transition
It is that time of year again for parents – back to school time! I have been busy getting my youngest daughter ready for her transition into high school and preparing to move my oldest daughter into her first apartment for her junior year in college!! What in the world - it was just yesterday that I was a ball of tears sending my girls to school for their first day of kindergarten!
Lots of major transitions going on my way and during this time of year. We all face different transitions during our lives both minor and major. I have learned to take transitions that are happening in my life more seriously. When my freshmen daughter hopped out of the car two years ago and we pulled away from her dorm as a party of 3 and started our drive home I felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces. I felt waves of grief and sadness her freshman year that were often paralyzing and startling. I felt crazy for feeling this way and alone at times. Life was moving forward but I was stuck in how things used to be when we were one big happy family under one roof.
I knew it would be hard but nothing prepared me for this new level of parenting and releasing my daughter into the world. I tried to carry on as if things were okay. That’s what society tells us to do just keep it moving - this is a part of life, be happy! I was happy and proud but struggling at the same time. You raise a child for 18+ years in your home caring for them, protecting them and then in the blink of an eye they have left your nest and you have a brand new normal. Your duties as a mom/parent are different. The things that you worry about and how you support them when they are away are different and MUCH harder. Your heart breaks to uncover a new level of loving, supporting and surrendering as a parent and individual. The breaking pieces turn you inward and help lead you back to rediscovering and redefining who you are not just as a mom – but the process still sucks.
Through my experiences and healing I realize that embracing and carefully processing the changes that are taking place in our lives is very important to our wellbeing. Taking time for self-care, healing and getting the support through family, friends or resources is vital. A big shout out to my hubby who helped me cope during this transition and my many sleepless nights full of worry and anxiety. Whew – no wonder God gave us partners!
As women especially, we power through things and have no time to slow down to pause and properly cope with challenges and milestones that we face. We look up one day and realize that we thought we were handling things just fine when we really are not. That happened to me about six months after we pulled away from that curb. I looked up and realized I was not okay, needed help and that I had experienced a major change in my life that could not be ignored. I needed to feel and deal with the separation anxiety and depression that I was experiencing.
I want to use my experiences to help others. We have support and gatherings when we enter motherhood but nothing in place when we experience this new milestone in the motherhood journey. I am ready to change this starting in my community. I am planning some gatherings and a weekend retreat in October for moms going through transitions of a partial or full empty nest. I want to provide a safe space to gather, celebrate, explore and be nurtured.
I have gone through it and still pick up the breaking pieces of my heart every fall. We will start packing up my daughter this week for a third time and I already know that I will be a basket case, lol! I look forward to sharing my wisdom, experiences, support, resources and love to moms and women as they go through these beautiful and life changing rites of passage.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment to be added to my mailing list to get more details about upcoming events and resources. I’m excited to use my experiences to help others!
Cheers to a new school year and the many transitions that we all experience on our journey.
By Kara Norman- Empower Her, Inc.
Kara Norman Atlanta Based Women Empowerment Thought Leader and bi-weekly blog contributor.
Kara Norman has been working with Women and Girls for a number of years. Her nonprofit organization Empower Her Inc , have led to many opportunities in the space of making social changes as it deals with women and their many roles in society. You can learn more about Kara Norman and Empower Her Inc. at http://www.empowerherinc.com/