The moment came as I lay collapsed on the floor – a mess of snot and tears, after an especially difficult exchange with one of my three daughters. Each has challenged me at different points in their journey to adulthood – one is still in process.
But in this moment, heartbroken and unsure how to proceed, I began to wonder: What is this hard, hard phase? It’s not the empty nest, more like an emptying nest.
The experience was at times, almost unbearable. And yet, there were moments of sweetness and joy.
I held tight to those.
I started to think of this process, this transition from mothering a child to becoming the parent of an adult, as unnesting.
I had heard of the empty nest. I had even asked women of adult children about their empty nest experience. I’m a planner, so I wanted to be prepared.
But none of the women I spoke with thought to share what it’s like to walk through the emptying of their nest. And I, at the time, didn’t know to ask. Now that I am going through the process, I have become intrigued with how other women have moved through this transition.
What gave them hope in the hardest moments?
How did they continue to connect with the heart of their child as they grew into an adult?
What tools did they find most effective in guiding their children into adulthood?
This curiosity has led to a series of interviews with women I know and admire. I have interviewed women whose children are in the midst of becoming adults and women whose children have long ago completed the process. I am grateful for their willingness to be vulnerable, to share their stories and their wisdom. With their permission, I have begun to write about their experiences, and my own, here at Unnesting. Their stories have been an encouragement to me. My hope is that you will be encouraged as well.
She (all the women I have interviewed) opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.Proverbs 31:26