I was recently working with a client whose only son is going out of state to college soon. What I shared with her may be of value to others so I am posting this as a guidepost when facing empty nest.
1) Acknowledge that you have a done a great job “launching” your child into adulthood.
2) Assure yourself and your child that you still are family and that you are there as back-up as they move forward in life. In other words, they are on their own but not alone. The same is true for the parents. They are alone but not alone.
3) As parents, your job is to let them go and let the child know that their job is to stay in touch.
In all of this please take solace in the fulfillment of your role as a parent. Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet put it so very eloquently:
by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.