Starting the Conversation: Coping with an Empty Nest?

Birds 2382

By Marianne Reid Anderson

I can’t even cope with putting my dog in a kennel, let alone sending children, of-age or not, off into the world. After years of helicopter parenting, how do you stop hovering and let go? From school age, to sleep-away camps, to college, to that first apartment? As the child to adult, I remember the thrill of the independence, but I have to admit I was always so homesick so much so that I ended-up moving back to Pittsburgh and buying a house only a half mile from my mother (a very Pittsburgh-girl tendency). But, for all my happiness now, I never would have found it, if I hadn’t spread my wings and flew away from the nest. As Dorothy says when she returned back to Kansas from Oz, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.” I sentiment I agree with and like Dorothy, never would have realized without venturing over the rainbow. So, now that I have returned, I am sure that I am no expert on letting go.

Especially now that the shoe is on the other foot, and the younger generation is wanting to take flight, I’m finding it exceptionally difficult to let go. A friend said that she finds the difficulty to be that she spent all these years building a family and now that it’s changing, it feels like it is breaking-up. I tried to be a good friend and assure her that it was only until the grandkids start arriving but is that true and am I just being a good friend? I do believe the term “empty nest” is very apropos because letting go does leave a very “empty” feeling. But how do you fill it? I’m sure this has been the situation since the dawn of time but do you think it is somehow worse since we have such graphic news channels and horrible reports or is it better because we have such great background checks and other technology such as texting and Skype® to keep us connected? How do you cope? Do you have any advice for others coping with an empty nest? Let’s continue the conversation on my blog at