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How can Empty Nest Syndrome strike so hard when the nest isn’t empty yet?

We moved Daughter to college over the last couple of days and I was fine during all the moving and orientation stuff, but when we got home and Young Son went to a friend’s for the night, WHAM! The emptiness of our house hit HARD. No kids home, which we’ve experienced many times before, but two not returning for a while is two too many.

A little thing I’ve noticed is that I can’t leave the kids’ bedroom doors shut while they are gone. The doors feel like they block the energy of the rooms and I like to be able to peek in periodically. (Sorry, Daughter, the cats will probably sleep on your bed once in a while.)

Last night I dreamed a dream with an interpretation so obvious it could’ve socked me in the eye. I was looking everywhere for a baby. I was at a zoo and all the animals had their babies. Where was mine? I asked a doctor about getting a baby and he said I could have another, but I told him I couldn’t anymore. At one point, someone handed me a naked baby, just born, but I wasn’t allowed to keep her and she disappeared. This made me sad, but I tried not to cry.

I was told I needed to come join a group somewhere and this large, hippie-type guy with long white beard and hair gave me a hug. That’s when I started crying and fell to the ground in a fetal position, sobbing and sobbing.

The dream was so powerful that I woke crying and it makes me cry to write about it.

Can you tell I miss my kids?

My cellphone is a godsend. (Yes, Daughter, I’m patting you on the back for your insistence that we get them.) I have been texting Eldest Son almost daily since he went back to school, with periodic phone calls in between. Daughter has also received her share of texts since we left her yesterday and I’ve gotten updates on how her day has been going.

I’m trying to strike that note of supportive mother without being smothering. It’s also something to keep in mind with Young Son, who’s still at home. Hubby and I are trying to make sure we support him at this time because both of his siblings are gone and he’s expressed how he’ll miss them. To that end, we purchased him a cellphone today and added him to our plan so he can keep in touch with them on his own.

Rather than spend all my time in tears, I’m trying to figure out ways Erik, Young Son and I can hang out, times we can visit the kids at college, and other methods of staying connected and busy. We’ll develop new patterns in our lives that help all of us to grow as a family. (There will be new restaurants to explore when we visit our kids. Woohoo!)

Even though I’m sad now and will be a bit mopey for the next couple of months, I’m pleased that Eldest Son and Daughter are out experiencing different aspects of the world. It’s an adventure that will teach them things we can’t. I wish them great fun and joy in their explorations.