I started this blog when my Zilla was living in the same city as me, but in her own place while going to college. Most parents experience the empty nest in some form by having a child move out of their home. Not all experience the empty nest of a child moving far away. I still feel that this is a good and natural process that comes about with successful parenting. But when a grown child is thousands of miles away, the emotions are more complex.
Yes, I'm still happy to have the constant parenting behind me as it allows me to work on my stuff without interruption more often. But the distance is more than the ideal distance. I have to admit that I teared up a few times along the way on the road trip to help her move to Minneapolis. I teared up as we were pulling away from our home here. Leaving her on the steps of her new home as I drove away found me sobbing a bit. Visiting my parent's graves also found me crying as I thought of how they never got to see her as an adult and how proud they would have been had they known her. Driving back into Tucson alone really triggered a sad, lonely feeling in me.
Because my husband was on a business trip when I returned home, my house seemed very empty.
I do not feel empty. If I didn't have a full life I would not be experiencing this range of emotions. I'm happy to be young enough to be able to launch projects and feel that I'm entering a new phase of my life that is full of promise. There is time for my husband and I to get to know each other again and have our schedules accommodate only our needs. I also now have my office space and a guest room. While I miss my daughter and wish she didn't live quite so far away, there are many positives aspects of this new phase too.
So to answer a question that I have sort of framed here, I can be done nesting, but I will always be a parent and my parenting now happens to include being a role model for letting go and for how to accept transitions in life. There are stages to being done nesting. I didn't really know that until going through the experience myself.