The Good-bye Girls

    Well year two has begun. Tina dropped Amanda off last week in PA and  Melanie off three days ago in Haverhill. My college children are all officially sophomores!

     I have discovered that empty-nesting is not an event; It is a lifestyle! I thought that when the kids went off to school that would be it. We would go through a period of sadness, loneliness…whatever and then be done. I was not prepared for the up and down road through the mountain passes that Tina and I have walked in this last year. I certainly was not prepared for year two to be worse that year one, but there it is.

     As summer approached my son Joe announced that he would not be coming home at all because he had full time work in PA. That was O.K. It’s not that I don’t miss him, I do! This may sound chauvinistic but somehow his staying in PA seemed right. He’s a son. Making his way in the world is what he is supposed to do. But the girls are a different penny in the wallet. I guess a father’s instinct is to shelter and keep his daughters out of the world as long as he can.  It’s a trend we have to fight in today’s world, but that is more easily said than done.

    I was so glad when both girls announced they would be coming home. Even though Melanie travelled for a month of the summer with her drama team from school, she was home.

    We went to movies. They helped out at the church. We road to church together. We went for walks. We watched ScyFy (“Haven” and “Eureka” all the way baby). Both girls were a huge help with our live-in friends.

    Now they are back in school and this time I am reminded that potentially I have only a few summers  left before the final move out. So packing the van seemed a little more final to me this year than last. I feel a little like New Orleans waiting for Katrina to hit.

     For it all I am reminded that we are responsible to “carry our own weather”. So I plod on and think through to the positive side of things that lie ahead. Tina and I have an increased opportunity to travel and visit the kids. We are moving into a place where we have more freedom and control over our schedules (Admittedly we haven’t really experienced this yet but it is on the horizon). We have walked through the terrible twos, the golden years, the teen years, and now we are entering into our golden years.

     The good-bye girls are harbingers of change. It feels bad just now. But I know these initial feelings are deceptive. I miss the kids but this is an opportunity for all of us to grow. Part of me can’t wait to see where this takes us.

Tell me what you do to conquer sadness.