First Day of Empty Nesting and it Ain’t Pretty

Momservation: Pain is the price of love.

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So here it is. Here’s what it feels like. Here’s what it feels like—my babies being gone.

Empty Nesting.

It hurts.

It hurts so bad, like they are gone forever. Specifically, in this moment, it’s the loss of Whitney, my youngest. And I know it’s not a loss, but that’s the pain I feel.

Last year when her brother left for college, the oldest of my two, I had my Full Golden breakdown. Today, even though they are both gone, it was for Whitney I went Full Golden.

The pain is on that level. Big, heaving, sobbing, painful cries are the only thing that releases the pain so I can somehow breathe again.

I got up optimistic. The broken down car on the way home turning a 6-hour return trip from Santa Barbara into a 13-hour ordeal complete with tow truck, rental car and Bakersfield was a suitable distraction. I didn’t notice the panging emptiness of this house.

“It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay,” I said over and over finally finding the courage to get out of bed and face my new reality; Hoping a nice, new routine would do the trick.

But I already felt the walls closing around me.

I tried putting my things away from the drop-off to college. But everywhere I put something there was something of Whitney’s that wasn’t there anymore or something that would sit untouched for days…weeks…months.

I started moving quicker. “Just keep moving. Just keep moving. Don’t look into her empty room. Don’t process all the things that now sit stone still and lifeless without her,” I told myself.

But I couldn’t move fast enough. I became a shark—darting to straighten things out, put things in their places after the trip. Don’t stop moving or you’ll die.

I tried to focus on everything being in its place. This was going to be one of the joys of it just being Trey and I again, right? Everything will stay in its place, neat and tidy just as we left it.

But I couldn’t move fast enough. I couldn’t capture the joy. I tried to picture Whitney happy in her dorm with her new adventures. Suddenly, I was seized by panic. What if this aching separation was hitting Whitney too?

I didn’t want her to feel this pain. I pictured her again and this time I saw her getting up with her new roommate, her new friend, starting the day’s sorority rush activities that would keep her busy until school started later in the week. She was going to outrun this tsunami of emotion. I could sense she would make it to safety.

But the panic was enveloping me.

What am I going to do without her? What am I going to do without my babies? I could see ahead what I was supposed to do, the possibilities, but that optimistic shore seemed too far away and I was struggling.

I sat down. I stopped moving. Too overwrought, too lost, too aching. I just couldn’t get there.

I let the stillness and the emptiness wash over me and couldn’t breathe. The waves of sorrow crashed over me and I gave into it.

The sobs wracked my body. The wailing couldn’t release the pain quick enough. It hurts. Oh God, it hurts.

She is everywhere. He is everywhere. And they are nowhere. Nowhere to be seen, to be heard, to be hugged and kissed and touched and loved.

No one to mother, to nurture, to build a life around. It’s like my heart has been surgically removed without anesthesia.

My dog, Darby, rushes over to comfort me. She pushes and rubs and smiles at me trying to make me pet her.

“Pet me! Touch me! Love me! Look at me! See? It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay,” she seems to say.

And after I drench her in tears and fill the room with her swirling fur from all the pets as I sobbed, I finally see what she has been saying in her adoring eyes and cheerful grin.

I laugh.

“You’re right, Darby. We’re going to be okay. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me we’re going to be okay.”

And that’s when I get up and start moving again. Moving toward a new life and all its promise that is calling—for me, for Trey, for Whitney and Logan and our family.

We’ve always been good together, and this last year with my little buddy, Whitney, has been amazing. We will still be good together. Just different.

As I dry my tears I realize it’s the first day of fall, my favorite season. Another sign it will be okay. The seasons remind us that change is good and each new season brings something unique and wonderful of its own to this life. My kids are thriving. They are healthy and happy and safe. I have a wonderful husband and home, our good health, friends and family. And I have a fuzzy little angel to remind me it will be okay.

The promise of this new season uplifts me.

I will revel in the joy of the family we created instead of wallowing in the empty field that has harvested a great bounty. This temporary pain is the price of love. My kids will come home again—for this I am grateful and blessed.

My heart repairs itself. Don’t cry it’s over. Be happy it happened. A wonderful life to be continued…♥


#EmptyNesting   #CollegeDropOff   #NewBeginnings

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