I'm Day 18 "Empty Nest" and here to report that although I am better, I am not great.
First, let me tell you that my son has adjusted to college life even better than I had ever imagined, I've never seen him happier. And I am so very grateful. I raised him to be an independent thinker, not afraid to take risks, kind, brave, optimistic, and with an understanding that the whole wide world is his for the taking if he is willing to do the work. But shit, it's hard to watch that play out now.
Yes, I am proud of him, happy he is only an hour away, glad that he got into a good school, and blah, blah, blah. But I like him a lot and I miss him a lot. It's really that simple.
There have been so many things these past two-plus weeks that I've wanted to share with anyone else that is feeling the pain of separation from their child. However, I am still too immersed in digging myself out of my own funk to go deep.
But here's a biggie - it's okay to not feel okay when your child moves to college. You are not crazy because you feel as though there's been a death. Life as you knew it, died, the day you moved your child out of your house. And if like me, you are a single mom who raised that child alone, the silence in your home now is deafening and the solitude is probably not all that welcome. We single moms are special. We are different, and so are our kids.
My grief if real.
And I wonder, why it is that women eat their young? I've heard the most hurtful and dismissive comments from women these last 18 days. Why don't women support other women who are experiencing what they themselves have experienced? Why don't they share their own grief instead of standing silent, trivializing, dismissing, or grief-shaming women like me who are not on schedule with the "wings" process. No matter how well intentioned, when you suggest or imply that I must pretend like everything is fine when it is not, it's hurtful. So stop it. Buy me a beer and let me cry. Sit comfortably in my grief with me. Stop trying to fix me. I will be okay, I know I will. I've endured the death of my only sibling, infidelity, infertility, miscarriages, divorce, and more disappointment in life than I care to recount. But I am not okay right now.
So here's one thing that I have learned that I want to share. It's okay to cook for yourself! I know, that sounds so funny. I cooked for my son and I love to cook a meal for someone I care about, yet here I am alone, wondering what to eat? Like I somehow don't deserve a nice meal. Like I am not worth the effort to cook for. And I have not been grocery shopping much since John moved. I have not gotten out of my pajamas today, so going to the grocery store is not in the cards. I was forced to scan the refrigerator and pantry only to find I have nothing in my house to eat.
I am tired of being hungry so I whipped up this Queasadilla with random stuff in my 'frig and pantry. You can use whatever you find in your house, too.
I scraped together: chopped onion, chopped sweet pepper, chopped portobello mushrooms (that I'm not so sure weren't spoiled) and canned navy beans. I sauteed these over medium heat for a few minutes and then transferred to a bowl.
In the same pan, I placed 3 corn tortillas and onto one-half of each tortilla I placed cheddar cheese and a scoop of the sauteed veggies. Folded them into half-moons.
I fried these about 2 minutes on each side, then transferred them to a plate and topped with more cheddar cheese, cilantro, chopped tomato, Trader Joes green salsa, and sour cream.
And OMG! So, so good!
My son would never eat this. He hates most of what I put in this tortilla. I am celebrating that fact and this dish with a glass of wine and a vow to start cooking for myself everyday. Because I'm worth it.
Hi Lisa – thank you for being so real in your empty nest. My daughter is leaving the state, Alabama, this year for college and my son 12 years older is leaving the state for his doctor of Chiropractic in Oregon. Both in the same year! To top it off my daughter moved in with my sister choosing the influence of money vs. rules of when she can use MY car etc. The pain of a twin sister’s capability to cause this disconnect, as a mother herself is unexplainable and hard to forgive.
I am grateful for the love of my life finding me, becoming a published author and public speaker to keep me busy with your natural deodorant to keep me from sweating the big stuff!
Your story touched me and validated me.