Empty Nesterdom: Day One

Day One of Empty Nesterdom–Help!

Top Ten:

1. You will never be able to tell your freshman everything they need to know, so relax.  No more guilt trips!

2. These new students will never have every single, solitary thing they need.  And that is for the good.  They will have to learn on their own, how to be resourceful, to find the store to buy necessities, and make their own way in the world.

3.  They will never be okay, all of the time.  And that’s okay!  That’s what living life is all about.  Learning how to shoulder the tough times, like going through rush, and learning when to put down the X-box control.

4.  You cannot live their lives for them.  This is something they must do on their own.   You have lived your own life, so must they.
If you feel like helicoptering, maybe call a friend instead.  

5.  Which brings us to the weepy moments.  Get it out now, to save yourself for later.  And let your spouse know that they don’t have to ‘fix’ you, they can just let you be, or give you a big old hug–whatever works.   And, it’s helpful to recognize their moments, which may take shape very differently, and have different timing from your own.  It’s hard to ‘schedule’ sadness.

6.  So this may mean sitting in their empty room, picking up their old beanie baby, opening the closet door.  There are so many memories shored up.  Discover, and go inside, if needed, and let it out.  Just don’t disappear in there forever!

7.  When you get home after Move-in Day, you will run into those little things around the house that will bring back memories of their childhood–the old photo albums, an old silver baby cup, a broken piece of pottery from Girl Scout camp, an old baseball glove.  If you’ve grieved already, you may want to pick up the item, acknowledge your sadness, then put it back down, (perhaps out of sight!) and move on.

8.  Number eight is the most important.  After the ‘looking back and reflecting time,’ it’s time to get out!  Depending on work schedules, factor in a matinee, facial,  sports bar, lunch with a friend, dinner with your spouse–something simple and easy.

9.  Then look at the week ahead, after and in-between work schedules, can you find time to go buy a new paperback or rent a DVD?  Hang out at the bookstore in town?  Something light and fun.  You are enjoying the Emily Giffen and Elin Hildebrand books on cd.

10.  Or, figure out how to stream Netflix into your Wii, or how to work the remote control for your flat screen, that you are sure was invented by NASA.  Help…where’s that 18-year old!

**11. A bonus–figure out and set a date, even if it does not work out, when you will come up and visit your freshman, albeit briefly, for lunch, dinner or the weekend.  Planning a future get-together helps.  Vote to go see them in their own territory, at least for the first 3-6 weeks.  This truly helps them settle into their routine.  Those college kids who come home all of the time sometimes don’t develop the same bond.  Excellent news for parents with children flying far from the nest!  Weekends can be boring at college at first, but they need the slow time to find themselves, their roomies, hall mates, and groups.
Since your son’s school doesn’t have a ‘fall parent weekend’, you are looking so forward to the first football game!

About reelingintheyears.wordpress.com

A freelance writer who revels in the 1970's...and today. Thoughts on being a baby baby boomer and empty nester. Welcome to the Saturday evening porch.
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6 Responses to Empty Nesterdom: Day One

  1. Sigh. After a summer of my two kids in and out, they’ve both gone back to school — at least my son is only 2 hours away now…. but my daughter? Over 7 hours, much too far to visit as often as I’d like to… thank goodness they both love where they are; makes it a lot easier for me! Great reminders of how to let our kids have their own lives while we try and move ahead with ours.

  2. Julia–I hear ya. My daughter is 10 hours away, but my son is only 2 hours away, door-to-door. Agreed about letting kid have/own their own lives. I still like to be able to drive where they are if need be! My daughter and I figured out a ‘meet halfway plan’ which helps some. In October I hope to meet her in Chapel Hill, NC or Charlottesville, VA (not really halfway, but fun!)

  3. Jim says:

    This is great advice. I appreciate your wisdom on this!

  4. Leah says:

    Oh, you have me in tears just thinking about this date with my daughter in 14 years! I’m already dreading it! But I love your sentiments and believe every one. Going off to college was the best thing for me and the best time of my life. So while I dread this as a parent, I remember how wonderful it was and can’t wait for Sophie to love it too.

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