The Empty Nest

Getting Used to the Idea?

So as you already know my son flew the coop to start his college career. I have been living alone since approximately mid-August. Four. Months. Alone. Well, almost. Close enough. I cannot begin to tell you the difficulty I had in the beginning without him here. I would wait so patiently for him to call me. I did not want to disturb him and make him feel like I am suffocating him by calling him. So I would wait for him to call me, patiently, waiting. Meanwhile, I am suffocating waiting for that phone to ring! Texting just is not the same. I didn’t really believe this until that was my only form of communication for a few days at a time. Believe me, I despise talking on the phone like the next introvert, but I could not wait for those phone calls.

The truth of the matter is I was struggling with this whole new living situation and truthfully so was he. That was, let me tell you, the hardest part of all. No matter how badly I wanted to just move him right back home, I think a part of him wanted to as well. I couldn’t let him know how much it hurt so bad to listen to him talk and know he was struggling as well. I did not know what to do in those moments except to stay strong, and not allow him for one second to worry about me or that he made the wrong decision. While my head was hanging low, and my heart was hurting, I had to put reassurance in my voice and stay strong for HIM. Then of course we would hang up from our conversation and my tears would flow.

However, there came a point in time over these past four months, that I decided I had to put on my big mama pants and deal. I am not exactly sure what moment in time this was, somewhere around the beginning of October. It began sinking in that this is real and that there is no turning back at this point. It’s not like I want him to quit college and come home and live with his mama forever. No way. I just feel like I was cheated out of some years with my small child. Now I have a grown man. Now I have to look up to see his eyes. Now I have to call him to see how his day went.

Somewhere between diapers and prom I lost track of time. I thought that the 18 years I was supposed to have him would last “forever.” Not “forever” in the sense that I would get bored and want it to end. “Forever” in the sense that I had plenty of time to cuddle and hold hands and listen to him practice his baritone one more time. My grandma used to say, “life is like riding a train, when you are younger you are on the local and it moves slow, sometimes almost, painfully. When you are older, you are on the express and the moments in your life fly by.” I really had no idea what she was talking about. Until now. I get it. Painfully.

So how am I getting used to the idea you ask. Well, I am living through the moments where I am sad and reminding myself of all the things that I have to be grateful for. This sense of gratitude, is helping me through most of my days and I think that it is reminding me there are definitely more terrible things to be going through as a human. I did not lose my son. He is safe and healthy and doing what he wants to be doing. What more really could I ask for as a mama?

When we talked our conversations started turning upbeat and he was getting excited about the things that were happening in his life. This made me excited too. I was, and am, truly happy for him and the more I felt this the easier it was, and is, to feel happy.

And, I am going to be completely honest here… I had to talk to my doctor. I had to figure out what was wrong with me and if I ever was going to stop crying. We decided my sadness was probably more than just typical sadness and that I have, wait hold on… about to drop a D bomb… Depression.

I had always had some mild form of anxiety which only became more pronounced with all my recent life changes. So I have taken something mild to allow me to just feel normal and like I have control. This whole new situation made my anxiety flare up like an infected pimple on my face. It was scary, I felt out of control, and I didn’t like it. Therefore, she prescribed me with something that helps me maintain my emotions but does not make me feel like a zombie. Win!

Disclaimer: I am only telling you about this part because I feel that it is mostly taboo for people to discuss mental health. I have always been aware of mental health issues and until my full adulthood never really experienced them for myself. I do not always think that medicine is the best answer for everyone. Natural remedies such as breathing techniques, yoga, and spritiual guidance can also be very rehabilitating. But this is how I helped myself, especially through the roughest first few weeks. Please always consult a professional before making any decisions regarding your health.

So there it is the whole truth. I stopped with the self-pity and the woe is me and started looking at the brighter picture. Stepping out of my closed up box to see the good in this situation. To see that my son is going to be okay and I am going to be okay. There’s that optimistic girl my mama always wanted me to be! She would be so proud! Thank you again for stopping by! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions and leave me a comment or just say Hi! Always.Dawn.

Similar Posts

4 thoughts on “Getting Used to the Idea?
  1. Dawn, thank you for being so open. You have are very brave and honest which is refreshing. I will take your words to heart and try to be more present in my children’s lives so I don’t regret my choices when they too reach this time in their lives and move on and out.
    Love you girl!

    1. Thank you so much Colette that means a lot! Yes, live in the moment with your kiddos. They too will be spreading their wings and those memories will be there to get you through. There is never enough time so make do with the time you do have. Love you and I’m here to support you when it is your turn!

  2. You speak for so many of us who have a child move on to the next phase of their life. There’s no manual for how we should feel or cope. Thank you for sharing your honesty. 💜

    1. Thank you Robin! I am very grateful for people like you in my life who show me we still have life left “after” kids. We still have a lot left to do on this journey and I intend to make the most of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *