We have survived another rite of teen passage> Prom. Emily had a nice time and she looked great. But this is not her story.
We have known Emily’s date’s parents for a few years now, but never really connected in any real or meaningful way. We were on committees together, saw each other at events, never exchanged more than the basic pleasantries. After all, we were there to support the kids’ activities, not really socialize, right?
After taking the requisite pre-Prom photos, the kids headed out in the rented Towncar, and the parents shared dinner at a nearby restaurant. What a great idea! Free of our kids, we talked about current events and shared long-ago stories. We laughed alot, and found out that we have much in common. I found myself feeling a bit sad that we hadn’t made this connection earlier. These are fun people I’d love to spend more time with!
Empty Nest 101> make new adult friends, check…
I will be adding more details soon, but here are a few ideas on how to start preparing for your empty nest.
1. Live in the moment> Enjoy your senior year. As you may have chronicled your child’s first day of school, take some time to make those “lasts” special.
2. Let go a little more> Trust that you’ve given your child all the tools that they need to go out in the world. Give her a chance to make more independent decisions and make mistakes.
3. Nurture your marriage>Start to reclaim, renew, and revel in your relationship with your partner. Schedule in a regular date night. Talk about books, current events, art, movies…anything that isn’t the kid’s schedule.
4. Expand your horizons>Reconnect with old friends. Revisit hobbies that you left behind. Try a new hobby(or two!). Make plans to travel.
Start to envision what you want your life to look like once your kids are on their own. What can you do today to prepare for your empty nest tomorrow?
I’ve been making a real effort to spend more time in the present moment instead of rehashing the past or imagining the future. I close my computer when someone comes in to talk to me, I single-task in order to be more focused, I stop and pet the cat when she winds my legs looking for attention. I’ve even started taking pictures of our everyday life: cat sleeping in warm, folded laundry, Emily absorbed in the computer after school, Alex sprawled on the couch texting like a maniac.
I was treated to an unusual occasion the other night. Emily instigated a rubber band war against her brother while he was crashed out taking a nap. I was busy with some writing and was going to tell them to cut it out, and then I smiled, put on my headphones, and watched the skirmishes escalate. I’m smiling even now, because I haven’t seen them play like that in a long time. Moments like that are the ones I’ll miss when they’re out of the house. So glad I took the time to experience their goofy battle. There is magic in times like these.