I feel like an empty nester veteran as I comfortably settle in to my fifth year. I have twin daughters: one who always wanted to go east, the other who was looking forward to her college years as a Bruin just like my husband and me. The summer before their senior year in high school we went on a seminal, mother-daughter(s), east coast college tour, primarily for the benefit of Elena. I like to tell people, “I drove 1,350 miles through 10 states (including the District of Columbia) and visited 13 colleges in 10 days.”
Elena fell in love with Yale and Amherst, in “like” with a number of other colleges, and hated a couple. Her UCLA bound twin, Kat, was surprised by how much she liked some of the east coast schools but most of all, Georgetown and its School of Foreign Service. The rest is history. One year later they were off: Elena to Yale and Kat to Georgetown. They graduated in May and are both living and working on the east coast.
To the surprise of most of my friends, I adapted beautifully from the start. It has helped that I go back to visit frequently. During the college years, I made a point of attending Parents’ Weekends, nearly all of Elena’s myriad dance performances, and Kat’s GU Senior Weekend—or just visited for fun. But what made it most tolerable is that my husband and I stayed busy here at home. I kept working in my job-share teaching position, finished my Masters degree, earned a UCLA certificate in college counseling, and started a college admissions consulting practice. My husband left his law firm of 26 years to open his own firm which has rapidly grown. We travel as much as possible from trips to Europe to domestic bucket list journeys to long weekends in California locales. And date nights are the norm. We make a point of doing something fun every weekend night, most Sundays, and often on a midweek Wednesday. Why not? We can.
Although we love and miss our daughters immensely, we also love and enjoy each other. Rather than lament how far away our daughters have elected to go and pine away the days till we see them again, we have focused on our own lives and each other. And consequently, empty nesting has proven to be loads of liberating fun.