Life as I know it has changed. My youngest has finished school and has turned 18. She and her brother are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing – living life as young adults. I’m happy for them and proud of them and I feel so lucky to have had them to myself for the past 20 years. There have been many days recently when I have cried because I miss them so much. Not because they have officially left home, but because they are no longer dependent on us. They still need to be loved and advised and supported, but they have started the next chapter of their lives. We have done our best to prepare them for life.
I don’t feel old, but I feel older. I’m not lonely, but I’m lonelier. It’s time for my new chapter. It feels wonderful to be free of school terms, school lunches, and school uniforms. I can now dedicate my extra free time to nurturing the other relationships in my life – with my husband, my friends and extended family.
But my mind has not drifted far past the children. How can I maintain close relationships with my adult son and daughter without stifling their independence? How can I make sure I never guilt them into spending time with us? How can I make them look forward to coming home? Surely the answer is to keep living my life and to continue to advertise the next stage for them. If they see their parents living meaningful lives, then hopefully they will want to remain part of those lives. Who knows? This is new to me ….