I’ll never forget when my firstborn son Jake first started Aquinas college.
It was just three years ago (Jake will be a senior this year) and I was an absolute and complete wreck. His biological dad and step-mom live walking distance from his new school, and Jake moved in with them.
I’m a Psychology major who has studied “empty nest syndrome.”
I’m a speaker who teaches on embracing the seasons of life.
I’ve read articles about moms who bawl for days when their babies go to college and thought to myself “that will never be me!” I’ve secretly laughed at my friend’s moms who slept in their daughter’s beds when they moved out. I made it through the first day of Kindergarten with barely a sniffle or two.
I’ve told my kids all along I want them to have two things —wings and roots.
Only now I realize I prefer my little birdies right here with me!
In case you are entering a new season of motherhood in the fall, here is what I learned about when our “birdies” leave the nest —
1. Embrace “this” season.
Just like we embraced and made it through the diaper stage, the early MOPS years, the elementary season (my favorite), the fun high school years, & college years – this new season will have many highs and yes, some lows.
When Jake started Aquinas, we went as a family and stocked up on new AQ gear, and I realized having a son in college could still be a lot of fun.
Yes, I do now own an “Aquinas Mom” shirt, and the kids all have AQ wear to support their big brother. Before I know it, hockey season will be upon us and I’ll still be a “goalie mom,” and I had a blast Jake’s school for Parent Day. Yay!
How are you learning to embrace your current season of life?
What can you be grateful for during this season of change? Grab a notebook and list five things, friend.
2. Feel Your Feelings
I’ll be honest, when life gets hard, most days I‘d rather just drink a Starbucks latte or pour myself a cold Diet Coke…. but not anymore.
Instead I’m asking God to help me feel these feelings and not just numb out.
If I numb the pain and sadness, I also numb out the joy and peace – and I’m not willing to go there.
Instead I need to feel these feelings and allow myself to grieve (yuck – remember I hate goodbyes) – but I’m trying.
How are you feeling today? Really?
3. Share Your Feelings
I was super blessed with a close circle of friends & family who walked with me through my season of transition. Sending notes and emails. Reminding me “I’m normal.” Praying over me and letting me be real.
(Not to mention my husband John who was a gem with a super emotional wife. One night I changed outfits 3 times – I just need to go for a walk. No, I need to go out. No, I need to watch a funny movie. No, I can’t be home, I need to go out. Let’s go to the movies please. Oh my! Thanks, honey!)
Do you have a handful of friends who know how you are really doing?
Or start a journal where you can write out your feelings each day. Maybe answer the questions:
- How am I feeling today?
- What am I sad about?
- What am I angry about?
- What am I glad about?
4. Create New Routines & Traditions
New seasons create opportunities for new routines and traditions.
When Jake first went to college, I stepped down from teaching Bible Study weekly so I could be available for Jake as needed. We even had “Wednesday’s at Wolfgang’s” (a nearby great breakfast place) that was a huge highlight of my week.
What new routines and/or traditions could you create?
- A weekly breakfast get together
- Sunday night phone calls
- Fall fun weekend together
5. Learn, Grow & Cling to Truth
New seasons are perfect opportunities for new growth. I want to be more like Jesus, and I’m continually asking God to teach me new, better ways to live through seasons of transition.
I added new arsenal to my belt of Truth, including verses like….
- Isaiah 30:15b – In Quietness and trust is your strength
- Psalm 119:28 – My soul is weary with sorrow; strenghten me according to Your Word.
- Psalm 4:3 – Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself, the Lord will hear when I call to Him.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….
How about you, friend? What season of life are you in these days? What are you learning? How are you feeling? Share with us please!
Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May God sprinkle your path of tokens of encouragement as you journey this new season, sweet friend.
Know that your feelings matter.
Know that you are not alone.