Have you noticed the increase in articles about parents’ struggle to say goodbye their rising college freshman? I read an excellent op-ed piece in the August 20th Washington Post by columnist Michael Gerson. http://tinyurl.com/loz86gb
His words ring true for millions of parents right now and reminded me of my own struggle when my son first left for college. I had been told, by both family and friends, that I would be emotional and that the empty nest would feel painfully empty for a while. “No way”, I thought. My son is heading off to an exciting chapter in his life, I have a busy career and this is a good time of life for all of us. So, when the emptiness hit (within hours), I let it happen, had a good cry and went away for a long weekend with my husband to celebrate the “launch”.
It was a nice getaway, but… as soon as we arrived home, I went into my son’s room, sat on the bed and cried my eyes out. This continued in varying degrees for the first few weeks as I settled in to our quieter home. One of the steps I took was to reconnect with a coach to discuss my next steps in business and in life. No longer was I the timekeeper at 6 AM or the clock watcher at 1 AM. How might I use that time? What changes did I want to make and what routines worked well for me already? It was great to have a coach on my team to help me gain a new perspective on life after “launch”.
I highly recommend that all parents find someone to talk with about this shift in their lives and find ways to enjoy the time away from your child as well as the time you have together when s/he returns home for a visit or to stay.