This empty nest thing is harder than I thought it would be.

My son Jackson, who is 18, recently moved to an apartment his dad keeps here in Calgary.

I am lucky to know he is safe and learning new things (budgeting! cooking! dishes!).  I also feel less stressed and I think he does too.

As a friend said, sometimes I don’t think about him at all.

But when I do my heart actually aches.

I confess to being totally ignorant and not empathic to empty nest syndrome. I was thinking I would be shouting ‘free at last’ when my son left at 27 or so. And maybe I still will be but right now it seems it happened a lot faster than I thought it would.

It feels silly because you know the goal is to raise independent people and for them to move on from your house is natural and right. But still, when they are at home and everyone is together it also feels right.

But children need to separate from you, to invent themselves apart from the expectations and childhood baggage.

You are always their mom but that role changes and it involves letting go.

My mom is 91 and in poor health. Her quality of life is not good because of Parkinson’s disease and she can not speak. I feel the same ache in my heart when I think of her.

It is natural to die but it does not make it easy for her or for me. When both your parents are gone, you are now the elder in a family and no longer a daughter. It is weird to let go of that role too.

Caring for our parents is something many of us are doing. Then we learn to let go of them too.

I know many of you are, right now, dealing with one or both of these things because we talk in yoga class 🙂

I have shared conversations recently that have reminded me I’m not alone and that you do move on to another relationship with your children, your parents and yourself. 

Life never seems to arrive at a constant state. I think yoga helps us cultivate the skills of adaption and reinvention.

We are always “leaving ourselves behind” and asking who am I now?

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