Nothing prepared me for it. Nobody had mentioned it to me. I had seen very few magazine articles even mentioning it. It hit me hard, oh, so hard. I shed a lot of tears and I felt depressed a good bit of the time. I had regrets. I had deep regrets. That "it" of which I speak is the empty nest of taking my only son to college, to drop him off.
My son was a person with whom I spoke and who listened to me every day of his life until he went off to college. We were close. We understood each other. We suffered the slings and arrows together. That is not to say we were closer than a mother and son should be. We were just exactly as close as a mother and son should be.
His freshman year in college was oh, so hard for me. I missed him. I had an empty nest. I didn't know who I was, if not his mom. Being a mom was something I was good at, something I enjoyed. Mom was who I was. And then I was his mother, but not so much his mom.
I wish I could tell you that it was ever the same again. It wasn't. We never had time for the long talks and listening. We never cleaned the house or the dishes or went to the library together in that close way again. Going away, he became his own person. I am happy about that. It is what I raised him for, the thing I hoped for. Having raised an independent son is something that I aimed for and got.
But, the empty nest was so hard for me. I was much sadder than I expected to be. Sometimes it felt as though all the important parts of my life were over. I wanted more children that I wasn't able to have. I wouldn't have traded it for anything, the little time to be a mom I had. But, I wanted more. I wasn't ready to move on. But over time it got okay. The thought of the empty nest doesn't bring tears to my eyes anymore.
I have grown past all that by many years now. (Still not a grandma.) And I can say that I have found serenity and joy in the place I am. I am exactly where God planned for me to be. I have plenty of important things to do in my life. God didn't forsake me or forget about me. He has been there. He is there. He will be there in the future.