From the book
As the mother of an only child (and a single mother for many years), I worked outside the home but considered motherhood my main job and my joy. To me, the empty-nest syndrome was simply a term to describe the phase of life when parents learn to adjust after their children move out. It sounded so simple! For some parents, it meant the freedom of having their personal lives back. Despite this, I rarely found a parent who didn't feel a sense of uneasiness when approaching this new phase. Whether the parent faces the departure of an only child, a first child, or a last child, the realization begins to set in that life is about to take on a new dimension.
THOUGHTS FROM STEFF
Leaving home for the first time can be a scary experience. For me, it was both scary and exciting. During most of my senior year of high school, I thought I was ready to go. When I got accepted into my first-choice college, I knew it was the time to go! Doubts soon set in, however, when I thought of all the things I was leaving behind: my familiar day-to-day schedule, special people, personal possessions, and the safety of my bedroom. Most of all, I was leaving my secure life at home. Although these mixed emotions were confusing and bothersome to me, I sensed that the time was right to move on and become more independent.
In high school, we talked a lot about "getting out" in the same way prisoners would talk about escaping from jail. We were ready to go off to college, start a job, meet new people, move out of the house, and be on our own. When the time actually arrived, however, fears surfaced from out of nowhere!
My choice was to go relatively far away to college. I wanted a college that specialized in my academic interests, but I also wanted to have my freedom. I wanted to prove to others that I could make it on my own. Yes, there were fears and doubts, but I felt it had to be done. I think that Mom wanted to have me closer to home, but she didn't want to stand in my way. At that time, it was important for me to know that I had loving family and friends who supported my decision to move so far from home. With this support, I decided to follow my instincts and my heart. As I look back, I am truly glad I did it.
A TIME FOR EVERY SEASON IN LIFE
Fall is my favorite season. It has always been a season for special events and challenges in my life. From each of these, I felt a sense of personal growth. I was born in the fall, I left home in the fall, I was married in the fall, I had my baby in the fall, I was divorced in the fall, and my father passed away in the fall. This fall, my daughter will leave home to venture into adulthood.
I believe that, like the seasons of nature, we experience seasons in our lives. As fall arrives this year, the change in color and the loss of leaves represents something more to me. As each leaf falls, it makes me more aware of the beauty and the passing of a very special season of my life-that of raising my child. This stage of motherhood (this "season") has been a special one, filled with colorful events, learning, and growth. This has been the best time of my life. And just as my favorite season fades and the vibrant leaves fall from the trees, I see this vibrant time of my life fading. I realize that Steffany will soon be leaving home and moving into her adult years, and that I will be losing my role as it has been, as Mom.
I know that winter approaches. And like the bare and silent season of winter, life at home will seem to take a rest. The house will be quiet, my schedule less busy, and my life, as it has been, will be changed....