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I’m Supposed to Be Sad, But I Can’t Wait For My Empty Nest

I think I might be a horrible mom. Why? Because I’m looking forward to my nest emptying this fall when my third son goes off to college. I know I’m supposed to be crying and depressed. My duties as “Mom-in-Chief,” problem-solver, clothes washer, chef (short order and gourmet) are winding down. Yet somehow, I’m not.

I’m a little (okay a lot!) excited that the mommy guilt I’ve felt all of these years will magically be removed.

Poof. The weight will disappear, and I won’t have skipped a single meal!

No longer will I feel stressed when I have an upcoming business trip. Not when the meeting appears on my calendar. Or when the travels plans are made. I won’t miss the back and forth in my mind. Should I take the 6 a.m. flight so I don’t have to be away an extra night? If I do that, I know it means a 18+ hour day that will likely end with me struggling not to fall asleep in my soup after a full day of travel, meetings and trying be witty and smart through dinner. And then there’s the option that I never chose. I could take the flight the day before so I can be rested and at my best, with some bonus “me” time to relax. Imagine that! I will now—with pleasure.

I certainly won’t miss spending my Sundays before a week of travel food shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry and generally squeezing my week’s worth of “home” work into a single day. Nor will I miss the tug at my heart when I can’t attend an event that is important to my son—or on the flip side, the guilt I feel towards my colleagues when I leave a meeting early to make sure I make it home in time for the really special ones. Not fun, and nothing I’ll long for.

Go out during the week? Come fall, the answer will always be “Yes!” I won’t feel the need to be at home in the evening, ready with a healthy, home cooked meal—trying to make up for the nights when I’m away. Okay… so my son was only home for an hour between activities, but I wanted to be there when he was, so he knew how important he is to me.

Yes, I will deeply miss my boy, as I have when his brothers went off to school too. In fact, I cried nearly every week of my oldest’ s senior year, knowing that our family would never be the same once the dinner table had its first empty chair. But now I know better.

Yes, things are never the same. But they are equally as good, just in a different way.

I’ll remind myself of that as I figure out what my “never the same but equally good in a different way” life looks like now—with glee!