Making progress! My Seed Packet class is scheduled for April 28th, and I submitted 7 class proposals to our local continuing education school. One of the classes is Your Empty Nest 101! I’m pretty excited, and have been doing research online, as well as collecting stories from other parents regarding their empty(or emptying nest) experiences. As part of my ARTbundance certification, I will be doing a short practice talk this morning on my great empty nest experiment. I hope it goes well. I am going to ask for more stories, I want to see how other parents are experiencing this transition.
I spent some excellent creative time yesterday working on a papercrafting class sample. I love spring, and flowers, and gardening, so making these little seed packets was a fun project for me. I just need to finish setting up the little clay pot that will be their container and set a date for the class!
So here I am> happily going along, making plans for my future, and WHAM!, reality drops in for a visit…
We had a lovely morning. I made a nicer breakfast than our usual bowl of cereal and coffee. Everyone was in good spirits despite the pouring rain outside. I shooed everyone out the door to work and school and sat down with the remains of my breakfast tea.
There on the table was my daughter’s transcript, and the instruction sheet for filling out her course request form for next year. All of a sudden my mind flashed back to 30 minutes ago when I signed her CRF. In my mind’s eye, I could see the “12” in the upper right corner. Crap. This is really happening. My baby is almost a senior. I started to cry.
It was so immediate, so real, so clear. This is really happening. I remembered going through this with my son last year. One moment we were caught up in the day-to-day details> fill out this paper, reply to that school’s email, where do we get your transcript?, and soon after, I’m standing in his doorway remembering his floor littered with Lego’s and Pokemon cards. My mind says, “This is how it’s supposed to be.” My heart cries out, “So soon?”
Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but that’s who I am. I want to savor every moment of this time, make the minutes count, enjoy their company while we are still in this stage together. I will cherish this time of changes, of rollercoaster emotions.
Then we will build new relationships, no longer as child and parent, but as adults and friends.
(fingers crossed….. :>)
I have spent the last few days preparing class proposals for our local continuing education school. I have taught for them in the past, and this seemed like the perfect time to reconnect. I pulled out a couple of jewelry classes I have taught before (chain weaving> Byzantine, and Byzantine Rose patterns), and am adding an Empty Nest 101 class. I hope they will be excited to have me back, and that they see the value in the Empty Nest class.
(this is a shot of the Byzantine bracelet…)
So now that I won’t be picking up, picking up after, or “picking on” my kids, what will I do with my time?
I made a list of ideas on my own, and then went online to research some suggestions. Here are some common ones:
– Volunteer your time. You’re probably already a pro, so give some of your time to a cause that matters to you.
– Take up an old hobby, or try a new one. Most cities have some sort of continuing education programs that offer a variety of classes: languages, dance, writing, cooking, computers, art, car repair, voice-overs….
– Go back to school. Always wanted that advanced degree? Think that you would be the best 3rd grade teacher ever? Didn’t finish a program that you started because life got in the way? Now may be the time to give yourself the education you wanted.
– Treat yourself to movies, books, mani-pedi’s and a really nice hairstylist, if you don’t already do so.
– Check out online learning and communities. I am most familiar with the creativity groups (mixed media art, watercolor etc.), but I’m sure there are others out there where you can connect with like-minded souls and share your interests.
That’s a start anyway. Care to share any other ideas?
I went to lunch with a dear friend today, and told her about my new blog. She was very excited for me, and as we chatted she said, “Have you considered other meanings for empty nest?” I wasn’t sure what she meant, and she went on to suggest that it could also mean losing your spouse or significant other through divorce or death. This opened up a whole new round of discussions about loss and transitions. So many things to consider, this may be beyond the scope of this blog. Maybe I need a bigger picture…
I am going to have a trial run as an empty nester this summer while my kids are marching Drum Corps. I’m thrilled for them, it’s going to be an exciting and wonderful time. I’m also excited for me: fewer trips to the grocery, alone time with hubby, free time to do as I please, lunching with friends…endless possibilities!
As I’ve been approaching this time, I’ve been thinking, and talking to people who are in the same sort of transition time. The big question is, “What now?”
When we have babies, there are support groups and family and books on How To. As our children grow, there are playgroups and sports and later school activities like the PTA(or PTO…). Then all of a sudden, you are sitting in the stands of the high school football stadium watching your baby graduate. As this happened for me with my son last June, all I could think was “What just happened?” quickly followed by “Where did the time go?” and “Oh crap. What now?”
Do I go back to a former career? Do I start a new one? Revisit a beloved and set aside hobby? Who are my friends now?(Will I still hang out with the band moms after this?) Who do I want to be in this next phase of my life?