dealing with empty nest

Didn’t think Black People had empty nest syndrome

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Really, I didn’t.

I  know the “empty nest” and “Black people” title got you here. Now, hear me completely out.

My oldest son is a 24-year old handsome, respectful young man enjoying personal and professional success.

No, he is not perfect. But, he is close. This kid has not given us one day of stress or pain in his entire life. Not all parents can say that about their adult children. Mine certainly cannot. But, that’s another blog post.

Ok. Back to my kid.

A few years ago, he graduated college with his undergrad degree. He is currently in the deep throws of earning his Masters. My favorite part is that he is no one’s father. Please know, I am not bragging, nor judging anyone else’s child with this statement. I’m simply saying I’m proud of my son for the choices he has made. I’m grateful for God’s grace and my son’s wisdom. If that offends you, I’m sorry.

Recently, his lease ended on his current apartment. So, he opted for an apartment closer to his job.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the unit for the first time.

Girrrrl, all sorts of emotions flooded my heart. It was something about this new apartment that pierced my heart. Don’t get me wrong. It is GORGEOUS and I was so happy for him. The place has lots of shine and elegance – a clear step “up” from his last place.

Still I was so very sad.My sadness is not just hormones! Give me more credit than that! Click To Tweet

My grown son empty nest is realThat evening, I reflected was going on with me. Then, it occurred to me!

It was empty nest syndrome! That thing I thought only happened to middle-class white people on television. How wrong I was.

Don’t laugh at me and please forgive me if my candor makes you uncomfortable.

But, I never thought African-Americans experienced this syndrome. Most people in my culture are thrilled when their children succeed in a world so full of bias, and societal barriers. As a result, I never heard of much empty nesting in the Black community. That may be just my social circle.

The core issue this 40-something mom was
dealing with was the finality that corresponds to
a child’s success and proven ability
to take care of himself.

His new fantastic apartment reflects a sense of sustainability and independence; it made me sad. It confirmed (and screams to me) that my son can make it on his own and is a young, upwardly mobile professional. He doesn’t need us (a.k.a. ME) in the same ways he did in his youth. In reality, that is a good thing.

So, here is how I’m accepting my new truth and our new “nest”:

1. I’m letting him go. No longer will I try to think for him or make decisions when he only seeks a listening ear. Our relationship is different. This will be tough, but I can do it.

2. I’ll be proud. Instead of focusing on what I’m losing, I’m going to try to meditate on our blessing and success in raising a strong, intelligent, God-loving man.

3. Devoted to finishing the work. I have one more kiddo at home. He is a vivacious nine year old little pistol. Instead of lamenting over feelings of loss, I’ll remember I still have work to do with the one that remains.

4. I’m finding my life. Ya know, it’s easy to focus so much on your kids that you lose sight of your own interests. I’ve done that to some degree. If I continue to do this, then I’ll be a lost, pitiful forty-something woman now AND later when my other child leaves home.

Hence, my blogging hobby. Many women feel the sense of “depression, sadness, and/or grief” “Psychology Today” describes on their website. I think it’s largely because they focused all their creative, spiritual and emotional energy into their child. They lose themselves a little and when the child is gone, they feel they have nothing left.

Reflect on what you once found (and find) fun, interesting or enjoyable. For me, it’s always been writing. Re-kindle your interest.

5. It’s ok to talk about it. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s ok to talk to a professional or a friend about your struggle. When your child leaves home, it can be a sad time. Further, it is a goodbye of not only your child, but also a part of your identity. That’s a big deal. Don’t stay stuck in a malaise, meet with a professional and begin plotting a pathway toward “happy” again.

I’ll be back to my fashion over 40 outfits soon. Just wanted to blog about these feelings in case someone else out there is feeling them too.

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