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Thread: Any hints to help with a little bit of empty nest sadness?

  1. #1
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    Hi,
    Am feeling a little down. DS graduated from High School Friday. For the next two days, he's at his college's orientation. I am happy for him, really I am but part of me just wants to wrap him up in batting so he is safe and sound and doesn't get hurt by life. (I know, we all get hurt by life, it wouldn't be life if we didn't but this is how I feel).
    I've never been a smother mother and these feelings are really surprising me. Has anyone else felt this way?
    Thank you,
    lots2do
    PS He is not even going very far, just up the highway about 45 minutes away, but will live there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member renee765's Avatar
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    I'm happy to tell you that you seem perfectly normal to me.

    The first time I dropped my oldest child (of three) off at Pre-School, I cried. The first time I dropped my third child off at Pre-School, I smiled.

    The first time I dropped my first child off at college, I cried. The first time I helped my third child move into her first apartment, I smiled.

    These are all bittersweet moments.

  3. #3
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    When our son moved away to go to college I cryed all the way home.

  4. #4
    Super Member Mamagus's Avatar
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    Suck it up Buttercup! Would you be happier if he had been born with an illness that would have kept him home with you forever!? Be proud and happy that he CAN go. I have a good friend who cries each time she thinks of high school graduation a few years away for her son Josh. He has CP and will be with them as long as they can keep him home.

    I agree with Renee. Cry but let them be tears of happiness. You have been blessed!

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltingnonie's Avatar
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    Ohhhhh I know how you feel ... and it is just one of life's little heartbreaks we just have to deal with. Hope you will be able to take some short visits - but CALL FIRST! Just taking them out to lunch/dinner once in awhile is a big boost.
    One thing my son did was set up my computer with Instant Messaging. I just loved it when I would be online and all of a sudden a message popped up, "Hi, Mom" Of course now there is Text messaging.
    And don't be down if he doesn't come home every weekend. They have so many activities for Freshmen particularly, and it's all a part of college life. And when he does come home, be sure to fix all his favorite things :)
    Good Luck....I know how hard it is...but it DOES get easier. (My DD went away to college the very next year, and it wasn't nearly as hard on me)

  6. #6
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    My son (and only child) didn't go terribly far away, about 100 miles, for his first couple of years. And he came home every weekend. I admit to celebrating my empty nest. I love him dearly and we are very close, but it was just so peaceful.

  7. #7
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    Perfectly normal I would say.
    I'm sure many moms on this board can relate to this.
    My daughter is working in Honduras and I still miss her- she is 33!

  8. #8
    Junior Member katmom54's Avatar
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    When my two oldest left, it was just my daughter, husband and me at home...then 2 teenage boys came to stay with us...the next 4 years of high school were a lot of fun with tons of kids around. When they were graduating, I got ENS (empty nest syndrome) pretty bad, since I not only had 2 more kids...but also the bunches of friends that hung around the house. I got a dog to make me feel better - company for those lonely days...my daughter warned her friends at college (only 10 miles away) not to pay attention to the crazy woman that might keep showing up and hanging around the dorm :)...THEN...my oldest came home from the USAF -had been in England...and moved in to finish college...and his GF moved in too...then my middle son came back from Iraq -USMC, +GF -part time resident in the basement...my daughter got tired of dorm living, is back home with BF ...sons 1&2 moved back out eventually, one of the teens moved back in..then the teens sister got pregnant at 16, had nowhere to go, she, baby and dad all moved in for months, then we took care of baby for more than 50% of the time after they left...she made some bad choices about life and and we ended up with a foster child 3 years old now...expecting to adopt -court in July for termination of parent rights...I don't have an empty piece of furniture anymore never mind, empty nest!!!!
    wouldn't have it any other way.....I understand how you feel. Just tell him to call often -

  9. #9
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    Yes it's hard, but our children are not ours...they are lent to us to raise and teach them. Sadly the day comes when they leave home to make their way in the big world... all we can do is hope for the best and be there when life teaches them the hard lessons.

    Give yourself a pat on the back, you did good!! :)

  10. #10
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    You are normal! My oldest son went to collage at a University 5 hours away and we dropped him off he was only 17! Every year I found it harder to let him go know it was getting closer to his not coming home in the summers, Now he is a succesful teacher, coach, drives a new Truck and owns a home 15 min from us. My second son chose to go to college out of state-got married and now has 4 children but they chose to live 6 hours away! Middle son is also attending college 6 hours away. second youngest son at 24 just purchased a home 1/2 hour from us, I was so sad but happy for him. I now just have the youngest home but can see it won't be long before he moves on too. Sometimes I feel useless because they no longer NEED me. But I am proud of them all.

  11. #11
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    You sound so normal to me, too. The youngest is always the hardest. My girls (24 and 26) both live within 5 miles of me, and I still have a twinge of empty nest syndrome from time to time. Make him a quilt to take with him (and one for you), give him a hug, and say your prayers. It will get easier.

  12. #12
    Super Member sweet's Avatar
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    When my son went away to school, we agreed that he would be the one to call me when he had the time to talk. Its been years and he still calls. Keep up with them on facebook if you can, it's real nice seeing pictures. I am sorry you are going through this and it is difficult. Make some time to do something special for you. You can also start cooking and freezing food because those college kids sure do get hungry!
    The best thing is that you will make it through this just fine. Best Wishes....

  13. #13
    Super Member judy_68's Avatar
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    You will be fine. Trust me...My youngest is 19 and my oldest is 23. My oldest graduated from OSU and has been to two different countries. I thought I would die. I am very close to both of my boys. My youngest will move to OSU in Sept. for his second year of college. He stayed home for his first year. I have come to realize that they miss me as much as I miss them. My oldest still comes home for weekends even though he has his own place. I have learned to completly cherish every minute with them. Its an amazing feeling to see them grow into wonderful men. So, just enjoy the new advenure in their lives and in yours. I have time for myself once in awhile now and they still come home often. I won't say its easy but you will adjust. I sew more now than I have ever been able to.

    Judy in Ohio

  14. #14
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    My mom (she was a very wise woman) said:

    If one's child no longer "needs" his/her parent, that parent did a very good job raising this child.

  15. #15
    Pam
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    I was happy my son wanted to go to JR college so he would be home, then I was happy when he went to the 4 year and the dorm, now HEEEeeeE's Baaack!

    I want that room! Especially the closet! I need a guest room and another place to hide some stash.

    Mom, it will be OK, this is just like skinned knees and tonsilitis, not fun at the moment, but one of the realities we face. He will be fine, you too!

  16. #16
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    You are completely normal!! When my DD moved out, I spent a whole week crying....but then I realized I could use her room as a full time sewing room :twisted:

    Things to do that help: Rediscover your hubby; go on a quilting retreat with friends; re-do your sewing room; do those things that you haven't done that you've always wanted to but couldn't because you had a kid at home (weekend getaways with DH?), etc.

    And don't forget to pat yourself on the back for doing a great job in raising him.... :D

  17. #17
    Super Member burnsk's Avatar
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    This board is better than a Hallmark Card !!!

  18. #18
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    I feel that no matter the circumstances, healthy or not, when the time comes to "let go" it is with a roller coaster of emotions (especially if you get to experience it with the onset of menopause).

    My kids have been in and out for the last 3-4 years. The two younger (girls, one married now) are about 5 1/2 hours away. My son (the oldest) moved out once and then we moved across the country and he stayed where he was. That was the first time I was ever separated that far and it killed me. Six months later all of our circumstances changed and he moved out with us. He's been with us for a year and a half and has been such a blessing.

    A few weeks ago he announced he was all set to move again. This time a long two days drive away. Totally new surroundings. He's going in just about two weeks. I cry every night and he and I are having our great talks each night.

    Yes, I'm happy for him as so many new things will open up for him. I know this is the way it's supposed to be, how (for the most part) my parents felt when I left and moved across the country, taking three of their grandkids.

    I already have a sewing room so it's not a matter of using his space to fill the void.

    I want them to be happy but the selfish part of me wants me to be near so I can watch and see it all unfold for them. What can I say, that's part of how I love them. I'm gonna be a complete wreck when he leaves the door the day he goes. I've never been good with "goodbyes" my entire life, no matter who it is.

  19. #19
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I never tell my kids Goodbye- Always see you later! That is right after Drive carefully!! LOL And I never watch them pull out, I am superstitious I guess.

  20. #20
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Mine are 37 and 30...and I really didn't experience the ENS because I got divorced at the same time the kids were leaving...then met and married William...life was a flurry of activity. I got a new job, all of that.

    When I did finally start feeling the pains of ENS, I volunteered at Big Brothers/Big Sisters... I had a wonderful teen girl to hang out with and do things with... it was fun, and I made a wonderful friend! :)

  21. #21
    Super Member Debbie B's Avatar
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    My daughter is 34, married with 2 girls. Lucky for me she lives just a few blocks away, but she works full time and with two children to take care of & a house, I don't see her as much as I would like. Very thankful for the time I do have with her! My son is 24 and lives in WV. They've been out of the nest for a while now and I still miss them. I just keep telling myself that life changes and life goes on. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband that I enjoy doing things with.

  22. #22
    quiltluvr's Avatar
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    For me it would be much easier to know they were closer distance wise. I don't feel the need to monopolize them, we all have our own lives, but the separation by distance brings its own problems too, timing visits with work and money are huge, especially now. And of course the eventual emotional distance that happens to some degree. Phones are fine, emails/pics etc. are good but they certainly aren't a substitute.

    Only time will tell how the whole adjustment time will end up. But for now, for me, part of the reality of my little piece of the world is going to crash shortly. I have my permission to feel this in all it's entirety and not have a lick of guilt or shame.

  23. #23
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    you will be okay, take a deep breath, can you take his room and turn it into a sewing room for yourself??

  24. #24
    quiltluvr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltluvr
    I already have a sewing room so it's not a matter of using his space to fill the void.
    Quote Originally Posted by craftybear
    you will be okay, take a deep breath, can you take his room and turn it into a sewing room for yourself??

  25. #25
    Senior Member diannemc's Avatar
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    I know just how you feel...The empty nest was and still is hard...Just keep busy...both my girls were living about a hour away..now that we have moved they are only 20 minutes away...Thought we would see them more but we don't..They have their own lives and I have to stand back and let them live it...They know mama is here when they need me...the oldest one graduated in May and if she doesn't find a job by August when her rent runs out she will have to move back home..Something she is not wanting to do...and I understand that..That will be different?

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