Because of divorce and co-parenting, I have experienced the "Empty Nest Syndrome" earlier than most of my friends who have remained married with in-tact families. From the time my youngest was just the age of two, I had to get used to experiencing days where I didn't see my baby. It is tough.
So, I wanted to share a few things I've learned over the years of spending days away from my children.
1) They are not thinking of you as much as you are thinking of them. Seriously, your little girl or young man is forging life and identity. Everything is new and exciting, and young people tend to live in the moment.
2) It's too much pressure to invest every resource you have into your child. When you rely on your child for your own self worth, it creates a codependence that is unhealthy. Guard against finding your complete identity through your relationship with your child.
3) There are things you have wanted to do...get started! Redecorate a room or get lost in a book/movie/series. There are things you enjoy which have been put on the back burner during the hands-on experience of parenting. Now is time to remember a dream or start a new one!
4) Invest in your own friendships which will fill provide joys and opportunities. More than ever you have time to spend with grown ups and enjoy the benefits of friendship. Join a club, start walking with a friend or set up a reunion. Be intentional with your friendships so that loneliness doesn't become the norm.
5) We are all on a path of letting go. From day one, our ultimate goal is healthy independence. All the years you spent pouring into your child has forged a bond that won't break with time and distance. Keep encouraging and know that your person will return again and again. You did it!
It's not easy to admit that our kids can live without us, but that reveals that we have done a good job.