My kids are grown and gone. Have been for a while. Because I got married at 12 (ok, 18) and had 9 kids before I was 21 (ok, 2) I've always been quite a bit ahead of my friends in the raising children department. I've been waiting many years for them to catch up with me.
And the time has arrived.
This last week, two of my high school girlfriends had their youngest child leave the nest. They flew the coop! One went to finish her senior year in college and one went to begin a new life in Australia!
And though neither had a "don't let the door hit you in the butt" attitude about seeing their child leave, they are certainly not sitting home crying tonight wondering what to do now.
On the contrary! A better question might be what WON'T we do now?!
In a few days these two friends and I will embark on a California Coast Celebration Cruise! Well, we're getting in the car with a small suitcase, a big ice chest and we're headed out on a Road Trip!
Our destination: FUN! LAUGHTER! HAPPINESS! BLISS!
OH and Bakeries, Beaches and Baseball games! Fruit stands, Flea markets and lots of checking in on Facebook!
We're heading toward a ton of Kodak moments and a whole lot of amazing living...
(And hopefully we'll end up in San Francisco at some point too!)
There will be no Empty Nest Syndrome Sufferers on this trip.
I've written about this a few times before and talk about it quite often as my friends are in the midst of this season. Honestly, I'm not sure there's many suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome anymore. The majority of my friends have worked outside the home throughout their child rearing years, and long ago mastered (and enjoyed!) the balance of career and family. We have also always had outside interests and hobbies and plan only to broaden and expand those activities now that the kids are grown.
Most of all, we have amazing, genuine friendships that we are trule EXCITED about being able to deepen at this point.
I've always believed that having your OWN life enables and encourages your adult children to have their own life too. The three women embarking on this trip have a combined SIX children with college degrees--with all EIGHT of our kids are living happy, successful, interesting, independent lives of their own!
What is there to be sad or depressed about?!
If I may say so myself, "WE DONE GOOD!"
And there is so much to celebrate!
And CELEBRATE WE WILL with a toast at every single stop along the way--"To Life!" And with every minute in between.
There will come a time when you think everything is finished,
that will be the beginning.