Every now and then the earth shifts and things appear upside down. What used to be true is suddenly no longer true. There was no seismic event in my world this week, but the ground shook and things seem out of order.
It’s the first day of school in our neighborhood. School parents are excited, relieved, energized, feeling free again — I remember those days oh so well. It’s also the first week of college for most of our region. College parents — like me — are trying to access some of that excitement from previous years, but there’s an unsettling overlay of nostalgia, empty rooms, quiet house and a sense that things will never be the same again. The day in the calendar that we have so looked forward to for a dozen consecutive years, has now become the one that ‘stings’ a little — as a friend so aptly put it. Things have turned upside down for us.
We’re treading lightly in some areas. Some places feel shakier than others. Passing through a school zone or the sight of the high school uniform can trigger a flood of memories. We don’t want to stir up too much dust. We’re seeking new solid ground to stand on. Focus on gratefulness and restructuring life around new rituals and traditions. This is the fourth year for me, I should be a pro at this. How can I feel “emotionally blindsided”, as Rob Lowe describes the impact of sending his son off to college in Unprepared? Last year I prepared myself so well, that I started out with 10 Things I Like About Being An Empty-Nester, which actually lead to a phone call along the lines of … “I hear you’re not missing me!”
This is the stuff of life. We would be bored to tears if things didn’t get jumbled up every now and then. It’s a blessing to have these concerns. Life is unfolding just as it should. So onward into the new fall season — and start making plans for Parent Weekend, as well as all the other new fun things that the empty nest affords!