As we go through life, we take on different roles. Daughter, Sister, Wife,  Mother, Aunt, Friend and eventually Grandmother. We take advice, and later even offer it. The life we live along the way prepares us for the roles we take on. Our stories all have lessons we each can learn from. Even our struggles and sorrows are eventually gifts of wisdom. As survivors of different trials we go through, we can offer hope and guidance for others when they see us come out of our own valleys without the battle scars they fear. And what scars we do retain, we can wear them as badges of honor for we are SURVIVORS.

The red flags we learn to be aware of, the lessons learned, the wisdom we can offer all are important pieces to the puzzle. Sometimes some of the pieces are missing and it takes a long time to find where they fit in order to see the bigger picture. But once all the pieces are in place, all the lessons are learned and all the pictures are made, we put them all back in the box, shake it up and make the pictures all over again!

Preparing for the Empty Nest As your daughter Takes Flight

I remember this time of year before my daughter left for school. I dreaded it. I was the kind of mom who made my kids call me before they crossed the street, long after other mothers set their kids free. I wasn’t a helicopter mom hovering over their every move but I have to admit that it was hard letting go. Luckily, my daughter and her friend house sat for their drama teacher during Spring break and part of the summer so I had practice by the time she truly moved out.

I have survived my empty nest for almost five years and so I feel that I am a seasoned expert. Today, my daughter still calls HERE home and yet I pretty much know that it might be where her heart is but her residence is four hours away and I am okay with that and would really want it no other way because if she came “home” it would mean that her dreams did not come true and I want her dreams to all come true.

I do have a bit of advice that might help, my very first suggestion is about keeping in touch. I have had so many mothers crying to me about how their kids don’t keep in touch. My suggestion is to set up your expectations ahead of time. When my daughter lived alone, I requested that I would get a text that she was home safe. It could be as simple as:  HOME . I was blessed to have my daughter always text I love you along with it but our rule was I didn’t get the text until she walked in the door and I trusted her and I believe that for the last four years she never missed a text.  Today she lives with someone and I have since calmed down. Though I stand firm in my beliefs that if you set up the expectations early, you can eliminate a lot of worry by agreeing on the texting rule. Especially if you pay the bill.

The next rule of thumb is when looking for your daughter’s residence, just keep in mind that if they have a car, you need a parking place!!!!! If there is no parking place, take my advice and MOVE ON!!! My daughter was told that parking was not a problem in one of her places, she signed a one year lease and was stuck circling the neighborhood and walking several blocks many nights and then having to get up many mornings to move her car because of parking signs. Scope out the neighborhood, look at NO parking signs, ask neighbors and read reviews! Don’t count on the leasing office to tell you about the problems. Talk to the leasers before signing the lease.

Try to find places that don’t have long leases. It is hard enough to let go and know that they are happy and excited to move out and start a life of their own. But if they are not happy, I think that it may be just as hard on the parents as it is on the baby bird! Room mates and living alone, all takes adjustments… be as aware as possible that they may move a few times. My daughter has moved five times in almost five years. Expect to help a few times…

Today, I love spending time with my baby. She will always be my very best friend. We have such fun times when we are together. I love our times when she comes home or I visit her. But honestly, each time, we say “see you later” it is bitter sweet. Her life is so busy and her dreams are all coming true and you know what? Mine are too. I am here to say that it was so hard to let go but it does end up to be okay. You WILL survive and find new dreams of your own. I promise!