Wikipedia states: Empty nest syndrome is a general feeling of loneliness that parents or guardians may feel when one or more of their children leave home; it is more common in women.
I’ve seen friends and family members suffer from this when their children go off to college. I’ve often thought, “Oh please, what is the big deal? They are just going a couple of states away, it’s not like you will never see them again.” Of course I would never SAY this to any of them. Grin.
I have never considered myself to be particularly emotional. I try, very hard, to keep my emotions – especially sad, unhappy, depressed, negative ones – under control. I did not have “empty nest syndrome” when either of my boys left home. Of course, I had a bit of sadness, but I think that’s normal. It is also normal for children to leave home. This is what we raise them for. They are to go out and live their own lives. However, they are supposed to come home for the holidays. Right?!
This is the first year my husband and I will have with no family around. Sigh. My younger son is off in the Army, so he can’t get back. My older son has a family of his own and his plans do not include us this year, pout. Yup, I’m a little sad about this. This is new, it is different, and I don’t like it. Ah, as our saying goes (and I’m sure you’ve heard it from me before), “It is what it is… and it’s all good.” Yes, this is the first holiday we face “alone” so it will be the most difficult. We are not the first family to face this, and we won’t be the last. This is what happens when children have their own families and live their own lives. It is something we are going to have to get used to. The real issue here is – how am I going to react to this?
There are many options here, but the ones I considered were:
a) sit home, doing nothing, eating a frozen dinner, and have a pitty-party – hm, seriously considered this one, but it just isn’t me and I don’t want to be like that.
b) cook a Thanksgiving meal for just the two of us – could, but my heart’s just not in it this year.
c) accept an invitation from a friend to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner – not really in a festive mood, but thankful for the option.
Well, this morning I accepted the friend’s invitation. While I may not be the happiest person in the world that day, I can celebrate the things I am thankful for (which are many). I imagine next year I will choose option “b” and that will become our new normal (I just love that phrase, because things change constantly and you have to be able to adjust what normal is for you). Never, NEVER want to do option “a”! That is just too depressing.
Do you know someone who will be alone for the holidays? There are many people out there who will be. Maybe you could be a light in an otherwise dark day. You may want to consider inviting them to dinner. It may be just what they need so they don’t choose option “a”.
Next week’s blog will cover what I am thankful for. How about you all? We should be thankful for many things, always, but this upcoming Thanksgiving reminds us to really take time and consider all we have to be thankful for.