Trilogy of the Empty Nest Syndrome
I have just completed my trilogy of the empty nest syndrome. Read my post on When parents leave the Nest and Adult children who refuse to leave the Nest or Failure to Launch.
I promise you a good read so keep the tissues handy and the wine chilled.
When my son left for College about fifteen years ago both my wife and I were happy and excited that he was accepted to study a four-year undergraduate degree course in Psychology at one of Londons Universities.
It’s time to cut the apron strings
We stayed in London at the time and the University was too far to for him to commute, it meant he would have to stay on the campus. We helped him load his belongings and he was so excited to experience this new found freedom, without his parents looking over his shoulder.
After three months he packed it in and said he was not happy at the University. I asked him what was his next plan? He nurtured a secret desire to study at Cape Town’s prestigious university.
My heart sank and the first thought that crept into my head was “oh God this is going to cost me a fortune”, and I still have two others who want to go to University. After a week of debate, we said yes to his terms.
He made a few enquiries at the University application office and found out that because he had dual nationality, he would be allowed to study at the University and pay home student fees.
He applied for the four-year psychology undergrad course. Three months later he received a reply that his application was successful. His first semester would begin January the following year.
I had mixed emotions that he was going away for four years but I was happy for him. He managed to find a full-time job for a year, which meant he could use his savings for expenses. We booked his flight and his accomodation was sorted.
A New Life and a New Beginning
The day he left for Cape Town was so exciting for my son and us and I doubt if he had any sleep that night. He was on the phone for hours to his mates trying to explain, how beautiful Cape Town was especially the girls. I said to my wife he is ready to fly the nest and we had to let him go.
How quick the years fly and we all attended his graduation in Cape Town. My mother was 90 years old when she attended my sons graduation.
She looked so regal like the grand matriarch of the family. She glowed with pride that her first grandson had graduated with a BA Degree in Psychology.
Twelve years later, my son is very successful and extremely happy in his career. My second eldest son also graduated from the University with a degree in Filmmaking and Media. We were there for his graduation too.
All my children have left, living their own lives. We are living our own purposeful life. We try and see them as often as we can and it such a joy for us to be with them and our grandchildren.
My daughter comes to visit and stays with us for a while before she flys off with her partner to some exotic place. We made a difference to their future and ours.
We still have some of their books and memorabilia which is cluttering up my space. My daughter left her art books in our attic. We kept a few but it was time to cut the umbilical card. We have kept no shrines
Do we worry about them? Yes of course we do! but we have given them the coping mechanism tools to handle life’s twists and turns and how to problem solve.
I expected the empty nest syndrome to be lonely and painful, but quite the opposite. I look forward to my golden years with relish. I will never leave them, and they will never us.
Skype is amazing, it’s an ingenious piece of software. Once a week we will have a family skype. For a split second, there is that moment of. ” I wish they were nearer” but it’s their lives and they have to learn to stand on their own two feet as we did when we were their age.
We have all grown together emotionally and our lives have taken many directions, but my relationship with my partner has flourished. The bond with all my children is even stronger than what it was when they were living at home.
Today my son is an expert in his field. He produces future leaders at the University. He is respected by his peers, and revered by his students. We never felt guilty about leaving them to stand on their own two feet. My son says that I did him a great favour by letting him go.
Things Parents can do after the kids have left home
My wife and I have started a new journey together since my children have left the nest:
- My wife writes
- We are both keen fans of meditation
- We eat and live healthy lifestyles
- I graduated with a BA Degree in German and Sociology 2014
- I read novels in German
- I started a new Internet Marketing Business
- We are both gym fanatics
- Entertain as often as we can
- We love travelling
- We attend musical shows or plays with friends
- Learn the Tango ( on the to do list)
It’s not the end your life when your children leave home, but a beginning of a new one.
If you feel that you are suffering from the Empty Nest Syndrome and you are finding it hard to cope, speak to your doctor.