Is the Empty Nest Experience Real?
I am trying to decide whether this reaction (or rather the lack thereof) from our loved ones is due to the fact that they see our needs and feelings as unimportant or irrelevant or that they have taken their cues from the general society position that finds this empty-nester transformation rather boring and pitiful. I want to believe that this complete dismissal of our experience is due to the over exposure that the empty nest syndrome has had in the past decade. Well, whatever you believe, it is real and important to the person going through it.
Similar to other major life changes, like losing your job, or going through a divorce, we all will handle the situation differently. No two people will feel the same way but they are all in fact, experiencing something. There is also no scientific research that supports the notion that one particular group (such as career Moms, stay-at-home Dads, etc) will have more difficulty with this major life change. Many times, one parent has felt little difference once the kids have left the nest while the other is experiencing major trauma.
Was I expecting big hugs from my husband each time I break into tears over a picture I see like the one below? Maybe. That would be nice.
Did I think people would ask me how I am feeling now that both Jonathan and Laura are thousands of miles away and Andy had his first day at work, at an event or a party I am attending? Maybe. It might be comforting to express some of the thoughts I have in my head and fun to tell them all the wonderful stories they have shared with me over the phone.
So far, if I want to vent or express my feelings, I mostly do it online with my new "Internet friends" or other Moms who are experiencing the empty nest themselves. And I thank every single one of you for listening, commenting and sharing your stories with me! It is a beautiful, awful, unbelievable time that deserves to be recognized and appreciated.