I Haven’t Figured Out How To Move On After My Kids Move Out

I know I am not the only person who struggles with life transition and loss as the years click on by, but some days it feels like I am the only one crying about it.

We all go through changes in our circumstances, relationships and life stages. I get it in my logical brain, but my heart has its own thoughts on the matter.

I am so sick of having to say goodbye to important chapters of my life, and is that profound and cloying sadness keeping me from opening new doors. I am so busy being stuck in the missing-of-things, that I can’t seem to lift my head to scan the horizon for new happiness.

It is hard to move on when your grow up

I know what you are thinking, but just shut up and let me be miserable about it for a second ok? Sometimes we need to let people wallow for a hot minute.

It began when the kids were younger and our house was the gathering place. Every weekend we were in a happy whirlwind of pandemonium. The days were spent feeding the masses, putting bandages on boo-boos, both physical and for hurt feelings, and laughing at the chaos. Our place was both the sanctuary and the party.

It was the best, and now it is gone. We moved to a new place, but that was not why the fun stopped. It was because the definition of fun changed, and it wasn’t at our house anymore.

It all dawned on me in a bolt of pain because of a ratty old plastic bin. We have had this same big bin for 17 years. It has spent its life jam packed with items forgotten by our visiting hordes. Sweatshirts, towels, single socks, toothbrushes, and above all, underpants. We weren’t sure why the most frequent items was tiny people undies, and we may never know. Whatever we found under beds, between sofa cushions and occasionally in the tree house, it all went in the bin to be reclaimed next time.

Recently, as I was hunting through a closet for something, I spotted the lost and found bin, and it was empty. Nobody has left anything here in a long time. I heard my heart break when I realized nobody was coming back for their stuff.

What happened? More importantly, why am I keeping it open for contributions when the hordes are gone, and the party is over? Nobody wants to sit at the picnic table and eat orange fish crackers and popsicles anymore.

I sat down to have a murmur with my personal dark cloud for a minute. My dismal sorry-for-myself voice started listing all my other losses. A parent, a career due to cancer, parties in the house I loved, friends who have moved on. My heart was having none of it.

The heart and the cloud commune in their sadness and weep in unison The list of losses keeps roiling in my head, and it gathers hurts like a snowball careening downhill.

The next stage of transition looms large. My fierce and fascinating children will abandon their shelves of books and worn running shoes for me to dust and discard. It will seem like a minute before they are gone.

My logic brain says that I need to deal with the fact that life changes, and I should look to the future. Okay, logical brain let’s see what that looks like shall we? When I look forward I see my children detaching from me and leaving for their own lives. I see myself getting weaker and sicker, and my friends finding their post children groove without me. I see my life shrinking in size and scope without anybody noticing.

There isn’t an uplifting end note to this teary whining short story because I haven’t figured how to move on yet. It isn’t a cry for help though, because the only person who can manage this is me. If somebody tells me to take up a hobby or take a swim class I will throw an empty bin at them.

I will probably grizzle about it a little bit longer. I am not quite done railing against some of these changes, but I will find replacement joys someday. I just don’t see them yet, but at least I know where I am.

Stuck and sad. That is where I am.


This Is How It Feels Like When You Realize Your Teen Is Independent

About Magnolia Ripkin

Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny… well mostly funny… like a cold glass of water in the face. She writes a flagrantly offensive blog at MagnoliaRipkinAdvice Blog answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn’t safe. She is the Editor in Chief at BluntMoms.

Other places to find her: Huffington Post,  The Mighty  Modern Loss, The Mid, Her Stories Project, Thought Catalog, and Scary Mommy. You can also check her out in two amazing compendiums of bloggers who are published in “I Just Want To Be Alone”  and “Martinis and Motherhood, Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF.” Join her shenanigans on Facebook: Magnolia Advice Blog

Read more posts by Magnolia

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.