Fall means so many different things to each of us. It always reminds me of back to school, even though these days and in most places, temps still feel like mid-summer. I start dreaming about sweaters, and boots, and fires, and the holidays.
I used to always think about fall and feel happy. The past several years, however, I’ve noticed that I feel a little melancholy as fall approaches. I think it is because I am an empty nester. Not just a "kids out of high school heading off to college" empty nester, but a "kids out of college living their own lives" empty nester.
It makes me a little sad not to have kiddos getting ready for school, or football games to attend (except for fun on occasion), or even a guarantee that my son or daughter will be home for the holidays (and should I even bother decorating). I sometimes can put myself in a real muck of a mood with this type of thinking.
This year, with fall’s arrival, I started reflecting again on all things I dislike about not having my kids home or close to home. But I made myself stop! Instead, I asked myself what are some happy things I could think about now that I’m a REAL empty nester.
Well, first of all, I can celebrate the fact that both of my children have graduated from college and are each successfully pursuing their dreams. Then, there’s the fact that while I may not always get to see them when I want - I do in fact see them! In fact, I am fortunate enough to be traveling with both of my children to Spain next week. So they’ll be stuck for 9 glorious hours, on an airplane, unable to escape from their mama.
There is also the fact that I now get to share more "adult experiences" with my son and daughter. And…I get to do incredible things alone with my husband of almost 30 years. Like coming to our place at the beach almost any time I want, cooking dinner for just two, or more often that not, NOT cooking for two and eating out at fabulous restaurants. I have made new friends as an empty nester. I have started a new job with fabulous old friends. And if I want to decorate for holiday I can, if I don’t want to that’s fine as well.
I’m learning more, and more about myself every day. Most importantly, that while my role as a mother was one of the most important jobs I have ever had, my entire identity is not found in that position. I’ve learned that I love to travel, whereas before I was more of a homebody with a schedule largely dictated by what my kids wanted and needed. I absolutely look forward to one day welcoming new members into my family - and when that time comes, I’ll add new roles and find new joys in my life.
But for now, it’s good to rest, reflect, grow, and be excited about what this current season holds for me. For those of you with younger children, cherish this time. The saying that “the days or are long but the years are short” rings so true. And not just regarding our kids, but for all seasons, both literally and figuratively, of our life.
So, Steep. Sip. Reflect.
Steep. Sip. Relax.
Steep. Sip. Enjoy.
Every chance you get!!