Back to School and Life Beyond Kids

During this last week on Instagram I’ve been seeing the back to school pictures moms are posting of their kids.  It’s been awhile for me, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

You drop the kids off at the bus stop or school, return home, close the door and are greeted by silence.  Complete silence.  You breathe a sigh of relief, and follow that with a fist pump and resounding YESSSSSS  because you know you’re going to have … Some. Time. To. Yourself.  But there are also feelings of … emptiness.  You thought this first morning to call your own was going to be so awesome, but if you’re honest, you feel sort of lost.  You’ve been waiting for this for weeks, anticipating this very moment when you had two seconds to think about it.  Mostly you were in a frenzy, racing around doing all the back to school shopping and prep to get everyone ready.  But when the day actually gets here, there are mixed emotions and  it feels pretty … weird.  Am I right?  The rhythm of your day has abruptly changed.  Which is ok.  It’s likely great, in fact, but it takes a few days to adjust to the new routine.  

We all know it.  It happens every year.  You know what?  That’s what it’s going to feel like when every one of your kids leaves home for college or to launch their life.

Our daughter went to the University of Washington, right here in Seattle.  It seems like we would have seen her a lot.  We didn’t, because she didn’t live at home.  We moved her into a dorm and saw her … like never.  Even so, I knew she was right here.  Close by.  For me, reality hit right after college graduation when she moved to San Diego to start her life.  The day after Christmas she and I, and her pup, crammed ourselves into a packed car and started off on a road trip.  I drove as far as Sacramento with her where she dropped me off at the airport to catch a flight back to Seattle, and she continued south on her own.  I stood on the curb outside the airport watching her drive off, waving goodbye with tears streaming down my face.  All I could think of was “she’s never coming back”.  Hard, hard mom moment.

If you are a mom, you’re going to experience it.  And you know what?  You will survive.  Not only will you survive, but you can choose to thrive. The most amazing thing starts to happen.  Your life as Mom isn’t over, but it changes.  As much as it feels like an ending, it’s really the beginning of what can be the most exciting time of your life.  Life Beyond Kids.  That “empty nest” hype?  Mid life “crisis”?  Not even.  Your “nest” is going to suddenly become full of opportunity.  You have to just start paying attention and get ready.  It’s coming!  You’re going to create it!  

Your Biggest Fan,

Jean

 

Image:  What does the image on this post have to do with back to school?  Nothing really.   It’s a picture of fall in Bhutan, taken on a month-long trek.  One of my Life Beyond Kids opportunities.