FRAZIER: Finding joy in the empty nest and growing pains
Published 4:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2023
My son has been living in Austin for a few years now, and my hubby and I have gone out several times to visit.
Austin is a bit of a drive from Vicksburg, and the traffic is ferocious when you get to the city, but for some reason, I have never felt like the Texas town has been too terribly far away. Maybe it’s because I have relatives living in Houston and in San Antonio, which are both within a two-hour drive.
Therefore, I have never experienced any kind of separation anxiety. But that has not been the case with my youngest daughter.
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Just a little over a month ago, baby girl got married and she and her new man moved to Champaign, Ill. I am sure ERDC employees are familiar with the area. There is a Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) located in the Northern town.
Did you catch that — a Northern town?
I knew this move was coming and for a while, my emotions had been building, knowing she was going to be living in this unfamiliar place. But the day after the wedding, to say I had a meltdown would be an understatement.
I imagine some of my tears came from the aftermath of what had turned out to be a picture-perfect wedding weekend along with a good bit of exhaustion. But I knew inside my sobs were much more than fatigue or the blues because all the excitement was over.
I knew it was because my youngest would now be living 650 miles away from me. And it wasn’t just the distance; it was that she would be in completely unfamiliar territory.
As I sobbed, hubby hugged and just held me, knowing that there was nothing he could do. And although he was strong for me that day, I knew, whether he admitted it or not, he was feeling sad, too.
Well, this past weekend the two of us made the 650-mile trek up north to take up a few things my daughter and her man needed. And while we were there, we also pitched in and helped them with a few chores that needed to be done around their new home.
It was in this doing and helping that something odd happened. A calm came over me and I began to not feel so anxious about this new place.
Perhaps it was because their Home Depot wasn’t any different than ours or that, after driving around a bit, I became more familiar with the area. Or maybe, it was because I could see how happy the newlyweds were in beginning their new life together.
Whichever it was, I felt OK when hubby and I pulled out of the driveway to head back home.
So, did I shed a tear? Yes.
But this time, I knew I was going to be just fine and so was my baby girl.