10. Take Time to Grieve (or Not)
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Many parents experience a significant feeling of loss when their child goes off to college or moves across the country for a new job. Gone are the days of dinners together, conversations in the car on the way to school, and watching their basketball games or school musicals. The days may seem empty and dreary. On the other hand, if you aren’t experiencing empty-nest sadness like your friends, don’t assume something is wrong with you. Everyone experiences life’s milestones differently. Either way, find a good friend who will listen. Take your feelings to the God who understands them all.
11. Find a New Rhythm
If this graduation means you’ve officially become an empty-nester, you will begin a new chapter of your life. Even if you still have children at home you may find yourself with a bit more time with one less mouth to feed and one less load of laundry to wash. Take this opportunity to care for yourself. Rediscover interests and hobbies that have lain dormant during the busy parenting years. Sit down with a cup of coffee and list things you’ve long wished you had time for.
Do you want to learn to paint? Join a hiking club? Get training for a new career? Visit old friends? Begin meaningful volunteer work? Write anything and everything down. Then ask God to guide your choices and perhaps discuss your options with a respected friend who has walked this road before you. Start with one small activity as a bold step to a new life.
As the orchestra plays Pomp and Circumstance and you proudly watch your child wave her diploma, rejoice in the gift you had in parenting her. Cheer on your son and watch as he steps into a new phase of life. Enjoy each moment of the ceremony. Relive old memories and prepare to make new ones.
Thank God for the gift of family. Things may change but you will always be your child’s parent. God chose you to raise this amazing person. Ask Him for wisdom in navigating the road ahead as the relationship with this young adult grows and matures.
Graduation means your child will embark on a different and exciting stage of life. But don’t forget you will also begin the next chapter of your story. While this new phase may seem unfamiliar and a bit scary, trust God to walk beside you as you discover a new purpose in your life. Look ahead to fresh, fulfilling activities. Anticipate some grief, but expect new joys.