Answer: Enjoy an hour-long Skype video conversation with her son.
That’s the highlight of my day. My Angel Boy and I Skyped for over an hour and it was rainbows and sunshine and glitter all rolled into one. The wonderfullness of seeing his face makes everything OK.
When my son first went to college, it was just down the road at UCSD (University of California at San Diego), about a half hour away. He lived on campus in a dorm for a few reasons: traffic on our freeway is horrible and would have been too stressful to drive every day, we wanted him to have a true “college” life experience, away from home — for the first time — although we were close enough to be around if needed. He was seventeen when he was a freshman, and I really worried about him for all the reasons you can imagine.
Talk about empty nest syndrome; I was bereft, tearful, wandering into his room at all hours of the day and night…the silence was hardest to bear. No doors slamming, “I’m home, mom, I’m hungry!” No one saying, “Hey, the guys are coming over to skate. Can we have snacks?” No one to need my help — not with anything.
That’s the hardest part of being an empty nester, I think.
It’s not being needed every day.
That was in 1998. We didn’t have the luxury of Skype — and mobile phones hadn’t yet attained their ubiquitous status. He had a laptop with an Ethernet connection and we thought that was a big deal.
We talked on a landline several times a week and he came home most weekends. We drove down to get him (and his laundry) and take him back with clean clothes and enough brownies and cookies and snacks to last the week.
I met his friends and his professors and we walked for hours and talked and laughed non-stop the entire time. That’s what we’ve always done and that tops the list of what I miss most about him being all grown up and everything – besides the hugs and smiles and his messy room and being hungry all the time — he and I can talk for hours about anything.
It was a tradition started in Kindergarten. We’d leave the house every morning around 7:30 a.m. to walk our dog before school began at 8:05 a.m. During that half hour he’d practice arithmetic, spelling, brain teasers, chat about his day in school, and what I would be doing with my time. With a final kiss and hug from me and a goodbye from his dog, he skipped off to meet his friends. Never looking back. Self confident and prepared for learning. That was my goal, and I think I accomplished it.
It’s full circle time for my Angel Boy — he’s taught freshman and seniors at Yale. I couldn’t be prouder. When you’re a mom of a little one, you hope to plant the seeds for future life success; it’s a happy day when you see the fruits of your labor — a magnificent, tall, strong bountiful harvest. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him terribly! Sigh…
- Downsizing by empty nesters helps lift housing market sales (triblive.com)
- April 9: Boomers, Empty Nesters and Seniors: What’s Your Next Move? (patriotledger.com)
- How To Deal With The Empty Nest Syndrome (tomfit247.com)