Melissa enters new chapter as an empty nester

For the past 20 years I’ve been a class mom, a Girl Scout co-leader, a cookie mom, a PTO Secretary, a PTO Vice President, a PTO President; I’ve sewn costumes for school plays, volunteered at field day, been a chairperson for school pictures, carpooled for various events and activities, a chaperone, a stage mom, a dance mom, a theatre mom, a gymnastics mom, a cheer mom, a coach; I’ve run a tricky tray, I’ve helped coordinate handbag bingo, spearheaded a school cookbook, and chaired or volunteered for countless other fundraisers and events.

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All of it has come to an end.

And I’m grateful for that.

I see posts on social media of memories or memes and parents commenting “I wish I could go back” or “I miss when they were that little.” Well NOT ME. It’s not because I didn’t enjoy raising my girls and being a stay-at-home mom for several years. That’s not it at all. The reason is…I was present and loved every minute of them growing up. I enjoyed doing all of those things I mentioned above.

I loved being in the elementary school and seeing my girls in the halls and the other kids knowing who I was. I loved the chaos of activities six days a week and running to birthday parties and going to the store to get glue the day before a project was due. I loved the dance recitals and sewing their Halloween costumes from scratch. I took pictures and videos to capture those snippets of time and we sometimes reminisce about things that randomly come up in conversation and laugh.

Melissa, Lauren, and Erin before Erin and Lauren flew the coop…long before.

But I don’t wish I could go back. 

No more school lunches to make or grocery carts full of food. No more picking up shoes off the floor or finding dishes in the bedroom. Gone are the days when I hear “What’s for dinner?” almost every night after working 8-9 hours. I hate cooking. I only did it because we had to eat but I certainly won’t miss it.

My girls are adults now. It’s the natural progression of life. Why would I want to take that from them or wish time to go in reverse? They have so much to live for and look forward to. And you know what? So do I.

I am entering a new phase in my life. I am an empty nester. I’ve been looking forward to this for years and years. I don’t feel bad or guilty about it either. I did the best I could and gave them all that I had. Now it’s my turn to reap the benefits. 

I’m happy and excited for Lauren to be a college freshman and for Erin to pursue a life in Chicago. Why would I be sad? I did my job as a mom. I raised women to want to venture out into the world. That should be celebrated…not posted on social media with sad sappy music. And as we all know, they always come back. That’s when they’re happy to be home and want you to cook certain meals that they were sick of when you made them five years prior. They also regress and I’ll have that opportunity to “baby” them again. 

It’s not like they’ll stop asking for my help or guidance. It will just be less often and via text instead of in person. I’m looking forward to that. I get to sit back and watch them flourish…watch them make mistakes…watch them solve problems…watch them make their own choices…and watch them live their best lives. Their OWN lives.

It’s Melissa’s time now that she is an empty nester!

So now it’s MY time! Let’s see what this new chapter holds. I’m ready to make new memories with AND without my children. That doesn’t make me a selfish person. It makes me a woman who’s looking forwards and not backwards.

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