Life changes one year on…

Life changes one year on…

I’ve been reading & watching discussions about empty nesters. Firstly I’m not sure I like this term, I’m not sure what would be better.

 

My son moved out last September. I was upset, I cried on the day, months beforehand anticipating his move. I’ve not had the best health and he cared for me. This isn’t why, I knew I would miss him. I knew I’d miss him deeply. He’s my only child and we are close.

It’s been a year, and while we live in the same city I still miss him deeply. You give all your love and attention to your children, when they are young you run around, looking at the clock (I did) for feeding, bathing, bed, activities etc.

The routine of childcare, then school, having fun with them, activities, going to train museums even though you don’t really love this,  but boys do.

Then it’s school, helping them when they are overwhelmed, dyslexia, getting a diagnosis when school won’t listen.

You help them because you can empathise how difficult it is for them. Fighting to get the school to hear you. Then it’s friendship issues, eye tests, sickness,  (hard when your a single parent) exams, school holidays.

You make sure you leave work or University to pick them up from school on time, stressing about buses. You make sure you’re home to make food, help with homework and it goes on. 

You go through many stages with your children.

Then it’s GCSE, trying to get the right help from school (not great in our experience) deciding on colleges, next directions. All the while helping to guide them. In between you have fun, with friends or partners but also with your child/children.

They are the Centre of your life, while you also carve out time for yourself. You encourage independence, they learn to cook (amazingly! he’s also a chef), how to wash clothes, clean, decorate. Lockdown came just as they turned 18, sadly they loose that time to have fun.

You develop trust leaving them to stay home and look after the dog and themselves while you go away.  Try and help them manage finances (this is an art form, I struggle myself). 

Then…

They move out and you feel lost, what do I do now?

It’s quiet, which is nice

Your food lasts longer

The house is cleaner

But…

You miss their sweet smile

You miss watching your favourite tv programmes together.

You miss walking the dog and having chats

You miss cooking with them

You miss their moodiness

You miss their stubborn nature

You miss laughing at the word sausage

You miss watching comedy podcasts

You miss their energy

You miss them learning what they’ve learnt that day 

You miss them so much

After a year, you feel better, and you get used to it. You’re happy they are finding their feet.

Your happy they have great friends

Your happy they are learning new things

Your happy they are more independent 

You try not to help too much, but just enough to help with the tricky things (me)

You probably ring too much (me)

You learn you can think about yourself now without feeling guilty.

You learn you don’t have to feel guilty if you didn’t buy them a deliveroo order

You learn to find your 👣 again, your path

Your relationship changes, now they are an adult 

You still miss them and they miss you too.

I never thought I’d find it so hard. I didn’t think about it too much. To all the parents or guardians who are feeling this now, it gets easier. You ponder your next steps, your future. I thought I felt it more because I’m a single parent and he’s my only child. However if I had 4 I’d feel the same loss as each one moved on with their life. 

I understand how you feel, it’s heart breaking and I feel tearful writing this. Take it one day at a time 

sending love Janine 

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