28 May 2017

Overcoming The “Empty Nest” Blues by Susanne Dietze



Overcoming The “Empty Nest” Blues
By Susanne Dietze

Earlier this year, my oldest child left for college. She was eighteen, fresh out of high school, and ready to start a new adventure.

I knew it was coming. I had eighteen years to plan for it. Nevertheless, when she left I experienced Empty Nest Syndrome—the grief, lack a purpose, or depression parents can experience when a young-adult child leaves the house for the first time. While a child growing up and going to school or starting work is a normal, healthy thing, sometimes letting them go can be painful on Mom and Dad. Empty Nest Syndrome is not a clinical condition, but it’s common enough to be recognized by its name and experienced at some degree or another by many parents.

I should clarify here that my nest was not exactly empty. I still have one at home. Nevertheless, I missed my daughter’s presence in the house, her companionship and insights. I wondered how she would do, if she’d be safe or sad.

But stronger than those feelings, I wanted her to grow. To learn more about who God made her to be. To meet new people and make new friends, hopefully the ones that last a lifetime. To gain independence.

As hard as it can be to be the Mama Bird and watch our babies leave, I knew beyond the horizon God had something magnificent in store for my child. Living in the nest is a good thing, for a time. It’s intended for our safety, our growth, our nurture. But we can’t stay there. No matter our ages, we are all more the people God created us to be when we stretch the wings He gave us and fly.

And sure enough, one school year later, she has grown in independence, confidence, and happiness. She has made true friends. She’s learned things about herself, tried new things, and her relationship with God has deepened.

I’ve done all right, too.

Here are a few things I did to cope:

Talk to God.
He loves our children more than we do. I asked Him to care for my daughter and told Him all about my fears, hopes, and feelings.

Go ahead and grieve.
Take a little time to allow yourself to be sad. It’s normal and appropriate to miss a member of your family who is no longer living under the same roof!

Seek Support—but Don’t Compare.
Friends—especially ones who’ve been through what you’re going through—can be a strong source of comfort and encouragement. Take advantage of it and allow people to love you. However, it’s important for our sakes’ and our children’s sakes that we don’t compare our experiences in a way that could be harmful. Not every child is ready to go away to school at the same age, if at all, and no two families share the exact same dynamics.

Take advantage of technology.
Back when I was in college, long distance phone calls cost money, so chats with my family were scheduled things. Now, we can text any time. I’m so glad my daughter can reach me whenever she wishes to, and that I can see her face on FaceTime or Skype! What a huge difference this makes! We also send each other photos of funny things and keep up on social media. I love how we can stay connected this way.

Go Old School.
We may be able to chat over our cell phones any time, but I still send regular old snail mail from time to time. It’s a huge boost to get something in the mail, so we try to fill her postal box now and then! Letters, gift cards for coffee or a movie, and care packages are always welcome. I’ve also ordered her a shirt or two from her favorite retailer and had it shipped to her.

Pursue New (and Old) Interests.
Find something that gives you LIFE, and then do it! Pursue a new (or forgotten) hobby. Try something different. Cook something you like but your child was never crazy about. Be positive and keep moving!


Bio:
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of over a dozen historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. 

Facebook.com/SusanneDietzeBooks
Twitter: @Susanne Dietze
Subscribe to Susie's Newsletter 

Susie has TWO brand-new releases out: a novella is Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Cowboys (June, 2017 from Barbour) AND a novel 

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight

Here's the blurb from Rebecca's Plight: Is it possible to marry the wrong man? Rebecca Rice was looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach by becoming mail-order bride to her shopkeeper intended, Mr. Fordham—until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore, proceeded by the title Deputy. Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father, so an annulment seems in order—and fast, since Rebecca’s true intended is impatient to claim her as his own. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad Fordham wasn't the right husband for her all along....

Purchase links:

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight at CBD
on Amazon
at B&N

Susie also has a novella in Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands, releasing this week on June 1st! 
Purchase links:
Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands (Barbour Publishing, June 2017) Barnes & Noble 


Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of choice of either of Susie's new releases! Leave a comment on this post.








46 comments:

  1. Awesome thoughts! My kids are adults who live at home, but I never see them. Texting helps keep us all connected. .

    Pals

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    1. Hi Marsha! Your kids sound very busy! I, too, am so glad for texting. I love being able to quickly connect with my kids.

      Thanks so much for saying hi!

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  2. Seven Brides was sooo good! looking forward to Susanne's other book!
    My "PAL" Carrie sent me over because she knew I would enjoy your post..

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    1. Hi Deanna! Nice to see you here! I'm so glad you enjoyed Seven Brides. Carrie and I sure had fun with the other gals in that collection, working together. It was such a blessing!

      Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day.

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  3. Wonderful post! We have one son and when he became an adult and moved out on his own, life definitely was different at our house. We are extremely proud of him. Also, our son and daughter-in-love are expecting their first baby(our first grand baby) in August. I am a "PAL". :-)

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    1. Congratulations on your new grand baby, Melissa! That is so exciting! And the baby will be here soon! You must be over the moon.

      Watching our kids "grow and go" is hard, but it's how it's supposed to be. Then come new joys, like marriages and babies.

      Rejoicing with you in the coming birth of your grandchild!

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  4. I had experience this when my daughter left. I cried and was horrible, and tried not let her here on the phone. Come to find out she was the same so she came home. Now we have two daughters adults living with us and going to be Reverse Empty Nesters.
    We The Parents are leaving and they will stay to take care of our house and get some wings. We will bring our laundry home for them to wash. Lol
    Will keep you in Prayers.

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    1. Hi Justina! Oh, yes, the Reverse Empty Nest! This is happening more and more with people I know. It's a completely new dynamic in the house.

      Thank you for telling me about your experience with your daughter. I think it really helps when we share with each other so we know we're not alone!

      Blessings!

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  5. I have never experienced "empty nest syndrome". My oldest daughter married and moved about 25 minutes away. Then later my youngest married but she lives in my backyard and now she has a husband and 3 kids. I never get bored. Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a "Pal" member.

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    1. Hi Brenda! Wow, what a blessing to have your children so close by! When I had babies, we had no family near us. I've always envied people whose parents lived in town with them.

      Thanks so much for coming by to say hi!

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    2. BRENDA per random.org you are Susie's winner! Congrats!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for hosting me today, Carrie! So glad to be here and chat...and so glad to share with you in the release of Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Grooms!

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  8. I haven't experienced empty nest yet. My oldest is 17, though with her health problems I expect it to be at least a couple years before she heads out. I love the cover of My Heart Belongs in Ruby City Idaho. I have Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Grooms...just got it, and still need read it. :) PAL

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    1. Hi Andrea! I'm so sorry to hear your oldest struggles with health issues. I will pray for her.

      I hope you enjoy Seven Brides! It was so fun to work on it with Carrie!

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  9. I will comment on the books as I don't have children.....Mail order bride stores are always good, as well as the Barbour Collections. Enjoyed the article! dixiedobie at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi Cathy! I love mail order bride stories, too. And yes, the Barbour collections are always fun! I love reading them.

      Hope your weekend has been going well!

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  10. I remembered when our nest emptied. Many tears were shed but all in all, we got through it, watched our children grow and learn, and now they are productive adults.

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    1. Hi Melanie. Thank you for sharing! I appreciate knowing I'm not alone, and that everything will be ok. So encouraging!

      Hope your weekend is going well!

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  11. My adult children still live with us. The day they move out will be sad indeed.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi Mary! It is a sad prospect for our kids to move out, isn't it? But it's also happy to know that they are flourishing. It's so bittersweet.

      Have a great week!

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  12. Susanne, thanks for sharing your testimony and experience regarding empty nest syndrome.

    CONGRATULATIONS on your new releases; My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight and Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands!

    I have two grown sons (42 & 40), the oldest has left home years ago, married and has one son. It was hard when he left, at that time he moved about 45 minutes away, which isn't all that far but to this mother's heart it was far. He and his family moved back to town about 5 years ago, about 15 minutes across town and I love that they are so close!

    My other son has never left home. He has an apartment in the basement of our home. As my hubby and I are getting older (and I have several health problems) he (& we) decided he would stay there (and care for us if needed later), which we are very happy about. So, I guess we will never experience a true empty nest syndrome.

    Susanne, I enjoyed your story in Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands.

    I am a PAL!

    I look forward to reading your new release, My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight.

    Blessings, Tina

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    1. Hi Tina! I am so glad you enjoyed the story in Seven Brides! Thank you for letting me know. It is a fun collection, isn't it?

      I'm glad your older son lives close, and your younger son is able to help you out! That's wonderful that you have an apartment in your house. Everyone having their own space must be nice.

      Take care, and I hope you're having a great start to your week!

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  13. My children all left the nest many years ago, but they all live fairly close. Thank goodness for grandchildren. They are such a delight. I now have grandkids starting to leave the nest.
    Congrats on your new releases!
    I'm a PAL!

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    1. Winnie, that's so nice your kids live close! But now your grandchildren are growing up...oh my! It must be hard to watch them leave the nest, too--so bittersweet! We are proud of these kids, happy for them, and still feel a little sad and miss them. I guess it never ends.

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope you have a great day!

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  14. My son (the youngest) graduated last year from High School and is attending our community college so he's still living at home for now. My daughter is already on her own and has the 3 year old-grand girl. She only lives about 5 minutes away from us and we also watch the little one while she works. So while we're technically not true empty nesters, we have still gone through some changes. Especially me! God had blessed me to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and I have had to re-define my role in my own life as well as theirs. I'm still feeling my way around, and am becoming more comfortable with myself. It helps that I have the little one around quite a bit, like a new purpose :-) I think when it comes time for my son to leave the nest, it will be hard. I see this time as baby steps for all of us!

    I really enjoyed reading (and reviewing) My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho so I'd love to be in the draw for Seven Brides for Seven Mail-order Husbands. A unique twist to my favorite prose in a book...mail-order brides :-) Really enjoyed today's post Susie! I think there's growing pains for everyone involved, but it can also be a time for God to stretch us in new ways if we allow it. As scary as that is (to me at least)!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Trixi, hugs!!! One thing we can count on (other than God) (and taxes) is that life is always changing. This has been hard for me to accept from time to time. Children grow, seasons change, etc etc--we are so blessed that God is constant. I'm redefining my role too and it's not always easy.

      I'm so glad you have your family close, and your son still at home!

      But God has a way of helping us adjust, doesn't he?

      Thanks for your kind review of Ruby City! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!!

      Hope your week is off to a great start.

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  15. Great advice! I love how much easier it is to stay in touch now days. I remember when all we had was snail mail and expensive phone calls.

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    1. Nancy, it's astonishing how much easier it is to keep in touch, isn't it? In "my day" phone calls were so expensive. It was a big deal to talk to my parents when I went to college. My dad sent me letters every few days. I wrote to my friends. The best part of that was I could re-read all my letters!

      Have a great week!

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  16. My poor parents probably wish that they were empty nesters. I tease them about running a hotel because they've been parenting for 39 years and have yet to have an empty nest. 😳 I'm so grateful for their unconditional love and support throughout all of mine and my siblings' trials!

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    1. Hi Karen! It sounds like your parents have a busy, active house! I bet there is always something going on there! How many siblings do you have?

      I love your appreciation for your parents' love and support. That is so beautiful to read!

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  17. I have purchased the "Seven Brides" collection and already received it so it would be great if I could win a copy of My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: "Rebecca’s Plight", thank you for the chance!

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Hi Wendy! Thanks for reading and reviewing Seven Brides! We authors are so grateful for your support and help.

      I hope your week is off to a great start!

      Delete
  18. I struggled with empty nest syndrome so badly. Partly because my (only child) daughter married young and moved far away. She has some medical issues and was told if she wanted to have children she should have them early. She got engaged and we were planning a wedding for a year later. Her fiance was in the AirForce and they decided he was not going to get the already approved leave for the wedding. He could have 4 days off in 18 days. It was a whirlwind. He was in California, we live in the Chicago, Illinois area and they got married in southern Indiana. All with only 18 days notice, then she was gone. There were days I could not stop crying. The ladies Bible study group I was in at the time really helped me through.

    I am a PAL and have a copy of the wonderful Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands. I have read My Heart Belongs in Ruby City on NetGallley and would love a chance to win a copy to keep forever! It was so good! I want to read it again.

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    1. Andrea, HUGS!!! Oh, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to plan a wedding on such short notice, and then bid your daughter goodbye! I know it's not forever, but--oh! That must have been so hard. I would have been crying, too.

      How is she doing? How's her health?

      Thank you so much for your kind words about Ruby City! I am so, so glad you enjoyed it. Hearing this truly makes my day. Thank you for taking the time to read and review it, too!

      Delete
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  20. Great article for this graduation weekend! :)

    Hugs, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)
    amada_chavezATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Amada, do you have a graduation in your household this weekend? Oh boy, it is such a big day, isn't it? Yikes!

      Hope your week is off to a great start. Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  21. Crissy Y ShamionMay 31, 2017 at 6:24 AM

    Thank you for sharing! Interesting read. I have a few years to prepare for graduation parties for my nieces and nephews.


    I'm a Pal!
    Crissy Y Shamion

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    1. Hi Crissy! How neat that you are planning parties! The years sure fly by fast. It's hard to believe how quickly kids grow!

      So glad you could come by to say hi.

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  22. Firstly, congratulations on your new releases! My only child left for college a few years ago and now lives with us again. I will admit I shed some tears, but we texted regularly, and drove to see her when we could. Since she finished and moved back to our area, it has been more reasonable for us to live together cost wise. Ny hubby and I really enjoy her company and she had been an incredible help with illnesses, surgeries, etc.
    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win My Heart Belongs in Ruby City Idaho!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Betti! How wonderful that your daughter is with you! What a blessing.

      Right now, my house is full and it's so much fun.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  23. Wonderful post, Susie. Grace to you as walk out this new season. ((((HUGS)))))

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  24. Great post!! I have been going through Empty Nest for 2 yrs now... My oldest (now 21) left to go to college and the house is definitely quieter, I don't have my "sounding board" to bounce thoughts off of and I don't have my girl that just "gets me" here. BUT, I have 4 other kids at home and I have had the time to get to know my 19 yo daughter better (we never got along when she was younger-- constantly butting heads) and I have found that she's a GREAT Young Woman!! I am so proud of who she is-- and I didn't even know because my oldest overshadowed her. Now, I miss my two girls, but I'm trying to enjoy my two teen boys and my preteen girl while I have them. :)

    Thanks for a great post!!

    Ladette
    PALS

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