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The Last Bird Has Flown

June 5th, 2011 | 1 Comment

My youngest child graduated from high school last night.  As for all mothers facing the empty nest, this was a defining moment in my life. My children were  always my #1 priority especially since my husband’s job limited his time at home. I spent many hours alone-just me and the kids.  I did work as a speech pathologist for 23 years, always on-call, with as much wiggle room in my schedule as I could possible get. I spent years in the practical solutions, business, coaching clients to a  an improved life after brain injury.  Therefore,  it was natural for me to spend hours discussing strategies and approaches to navigate and enjoy life with my kids, and to do this with their friends also. I gave out LOTS of advice over the years!  Every mother has a niche and mine was encouraging personal growth, sharing strategies for living, and brewing up schemes and adventures.  I loved it!

However, I could see on the horizon  that  my kids would increasing rely on their own judgment  and that I wouldn’t t need to be as involved. In other words, if I had done a good job, then I needed to let go.  It’s a constant battle for an idea person to back off.  I am so enamored with generating ideas and carrying them out that I have joked that I want light bulbs on my tombstone!  Still, as my last child graduated last night, it became abundantly clear that this is the end of the line.  All of my children have taken steps toward independence and adulthood.  The notion of the empty nest came onto the radar screen for me about 3 years ago and this  new reality helped me generate a whole new set of goals and priorities for myself.  Evolve or dissolve, as my friend once said.

People generally don’t have to start from scratch when they look for a new direction. Either you find something that falls under that same general umbrella or you combine some of your talents in a new way to make it fresh. Knowing this, I felt I needed to identify a challenge I could take on that would redirect my energy on a day to day basis.   I decided to capitalize on my knack for helping  people get unstuck and began to lay the groundwork for a life coaching practice using my brain science/therapy background coupled with some life coaching training.

I also started Queenanntics.net so I could have a place to publish my writing, purely for enjoyment. Not all of my initial ventures in this area have been successful but I am definitely finding my way.  It’s a PROCESS and I have all kinds of time to figure out how to hone my act. The worse thing is to do nothing because of fear of failure or feeling foolish.  Everyone has a passion or two lying deep within and as mothers, we sometimes lose sight of what that may be such is the demands of our primary job for so many years.

In fact, my children are still my greatest love  and inspiration but  my new role as a mother is to model a healthy transition from hands-on day to day mothering to embracing my new life as an empty nester.  They will watching how I spend my time and someday, when they pass through this stage with their own children, I hope they will think of me as someone who navigated this time successfully. I do have to give credit to my own mother who worked part-time as a medical technologist while we were growing up then went to full-time after we got older.  Even when she retired from that occupation, she couldn’t remain idle for long.  At 75, she is still a Weight Watchers receptionist greeting clients and providing encouragement to the members.

It doesn’t really matter what you do but it will feel more joyous if you can discover what energizes you.  Picking something to pass the time until you can reconnect with your kids is certainly helpful but finding a passion gives you the opportunity to let them get excited about you too!  This phase of their lives can be intoxicating with new loves, jobs, travels and freedom and it’s tempting to vicariously ride the wave with them or to slow them down so they don’t stray too far from the nest.  However, one of the best ways to gently let go is to discover new passions and interests in your own life.  This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your adult children.

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