As I look around this empty house I have to wonder which scenario is best – how things were or how they are now:
- Having my twin girls living here as they have for 18 years, with literally trails of messes showing every stop they’ve made around the house and a level of quintessential chaos in their own rooms that would send Merry Maids running and screaming in horror. Add to that their typical teen attitudes, eye-rolling and all, irrational behaviors and blatant lack of respect; OR
- Having them as they have been for the past week living in their dorms at college. Their rooms here at home are spic-and-span thanks to a solid week of onslaught by – whom else – ME, and silence. Ahhh… the sweet serenity of peace and quiet.
I guess it’s an even split: Having children in the home is very good Feng Shui – their laughter, their movements, even their innocence resonates throughout and helps the flow of Chi. It makes a happy home. The messes not so much. We all know about clutter and how it blocks the flow of Chi. While mess and clutter are two different things, a temporary mess can easily become clutter when it is repeatedly transferred to another place for the sake of moving it out of sight. “I’ll pick it up later” was the typical response to my attempts to have them pick up after themselves, but later usually never came and it was easier for me to do it than to get on their case every single time. I no longer will have to clean up after them which frees me up to write and work more, even go for runs which I keep promising myself I will start doing more! Absence makes the heart grow fonder too, so their visits, although brief will (hopefully) be pleasant ones!
I realize I am not the first mom on the planet to have their kids leave for college, but it’s kind of a big deal for me. I do appreciate the benefits of this situation though. It gives me a chance to know my girls on a different level. We have new experiences to talk about now and I love that their living away has already stretched them beyond their comfort zones. I think it’s good for me to miss them, and vice-versa. Gives a new appreciative perspective I think. This is the beginning of their true adulthood and I can’t even describe how that makes me feel – hopeful yet worrisome, excited for their independence and futures yet reminiscent of them as young girls needing their mommy (I distinctly remember being cool!). Where did the time go?
The best thing for me to do here at home is to always be there for them. I will keep their rooms clutter free (and not let it become catch-all rooms for other things from around the house – as I know often becomes the habit with moved-out kids’ rooms or guest rooms) but keep it theirs at the same time. I feel that de-personalizing their space will make them feel unwelcome in their own home. On the other hand, I want to keep the Chi flowing in those spaces, so opening windows in there periodically, perhaps playing music or even doing a bit of a space clearing if too much time goes by without them in there. Of course, doing a little Feng Shui in their new spaces can only be beneficial (see previous blog post: Dorm Room Feng Shui).
A few years ago, someone told me about the birds scenario which I thought was a great analogy. We all call it “empty nest” when the kids “fly the coop” and I guess that’s where I thought it ended. In actuality, the attitudes our kids obtain in their teens is kind of a mechanism they subconsciously put into play to help parents allow them fly, or kick them out in some instances! College happens at a great age actually – 17 or 18 – when we, for lack of better words, have had it up to here with them, and are at an age ourselves where we crave a bit of evolution in our own lives and can more fully support them leaving the nest. In turn, they will struggle to fly solo, and this is difficult to watch, especially when you’re like me and your instinct is to do every little thing for them. But it is how they learn. Soon, hopefully, they will be soaring on their own and if we did our job well while they were still chicks in the nest, they won’t get into too much trouble. ♥