Monday, May 28, 2012

Daughters and Friends

How do parents find a balance between being so incredibly happy for their children who move away for a wonderful job and the emptiness that is caused by that move?

Now that both of my daughters have moved out of my house I am officially an Empty Nester .  Wow, does that sound strange!

The youngest moved a few years back.  She lives close enough that we can have lunch together.  We phone, email and text to keep in touch and share as many Sunday dinners are our schedules allow.  I am glad that we remain close, but I was an emotional mess when she first moved out.  She is my baby and I just wasn't ready to let her go.  Even if it was just across town!  It was just so foreign to not see her every day. 

Now my oldest, freshly graduated from college, has been offered an internship in another state.  A state not so close.  The job offer I am sure will follow this internship will not bring her closer to home. 

When my younger daughter moved out I worried that there was so much I had not taught her.  Was she really ready to be out on her own?  Whenever we were together I would ask her to call when she got home so I would know she was safe.  Sensible from my point of view; worry wart from hers. 

Now her sister has moved out.  I still worry about her being safe, but maybe not quite as much because she is older.  Probably because I am older.  I am still learning to focus on the good and positive in my life than worry about what might happen.

I thought this move out would be easier.  Not because I feel any less for my oldest, but because I had done this before.  I found things and people to help fill the hole.  I spent more time with my husband, my friends and projects that always seemed to get shifted to the back burner.

Boy, was I wrong!  Having a child leave your home once does not prepare you for another one to leave.  In some ways this one leaving was harder. 

I say this because I have come to a time when I count both of my daughters as friends.  I was one of those parents who refused to be my children's friend while they were growing up.  (Insert wise old saying about children needing parents, not another friend.).  We cook together, shop together, go to the occasional movie together and sometimes just hang out.  I love this new facet of our relationships. 

I think it is because we are friends that I am struggling more this time.  Don't we all grieve when a friend moves far away?  The routine of our lives becomes interrupted.  A commercial for a new movie makes me think I will have to ask her if she wants to go with me.  I see the cheese she especially likes in the fridge and think I will have to remind her to use it while it is still fresh.  Then I remember she doesn't live here anymore. 

So back to my original question.  "How do parents find a balance between being so incredibly happy for their children who move away for a wonderful job and the emptiness that is caused by that move?"

I know what I will do.  I will spend more time with my husband and my friends.  I will spend more time with my younger daughter while trying to not smother her and instead enjoy this new adult relationship.  And I will phone, email, text and even snail mail to my oldest daughter.  I will be incredibly happy for this new adventure she is on and I will miss my friend.

The Hopeful Romantic

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