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Having anxiety about kids growing up and leaving home

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
I wondered if anyone had and words of wisdom or advice for me.

I have three kids--Matthew 12, Samantha 9, Emma 6. Right now I am having such a wonderful time parenting them. The baby and toddler years were precious--my breastfeeding memories are something I will always treasure. But at the same time, I am enjoying right now--interacting with them without so much struggle (tantrums are over), and love talking with them and treating them like more grown up kids. Trips are more fun, I am able to sleep in on the weekends a little, and life is just right with them right now.

That is where I start to worry. I love right now--the kids are still young enough that they want to hang out with us all the time. We go exploring in the city together, laugh and watch movies together, play games, etc...And my 12 year old son still hugs me all the time and tells me he loves me. I know it will not always be this way--I accept that.

But a few nights ago I started thinking about how fast this is going, and that in 10 years my son will be 22 and not living here anymore. He will be off at college--probably almost done with college. Then I realized that my daughter Samantha will also not be her in our house--she will be 19! I can't even fathom not living with my kids anymore--even though it is obviously inevitable.

I know the goal of parenting is to raise healthy, well-loved, independent adults--I get that. But in my heart I love them so much and feel like it is one of life's cruelties that I can love these people so much, yet they are transient in my life. It is sort of like if I knew my husband was only going to live with me for x number of years, and the clock was counting down each day before it would be time for him to move out and move on. That would be horrendous! Yet that is how it is with the kids--we are on a timeclock of them leaving, and that scares me.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Thanks for reading.
post #2 of 11
Hi Lisa,

I can relate. Sometimes I wish I could stop time from moving so fast. My oldest is 13 and she is a young woman. How did that happen?!!! i have four kids ages 13, 11, 8 and 18 months. When my now 8 year-old started first grade a couple of years ago it was weird for me. Moving on the the stage of all school aged children was an adjustment. I could not imagine what I would do with myself all day. I adjusted quickly and enjoyed having enough time to do all the things I need to do, plus a few things I just enjoy (imagine that!). Well, then the baby came along and that was another adjustment. Aaahhhh, well. Life's transitions can be hard, but often wonderful too. I do think that things change slowly (though it doesn't seem that way sometimes!), and your feelings adjust as time goes by. It's so difficult to imagine life without your kids in your house right now, but things change gradually, and you adjust. You move on to the next chapter. You're there to support your kids as they go to college, have relationships and children of their own.

But in my heart I love them so much and feel like it is one of life's cruelties that I can love these people so much, yet they are transient in my life.
I think your kids will always be in your life
post #3 of 11
I know how you feel; I felt that way too for a while, until I had my two youngest children. I have 3 girls, the oldest is 18 and then I have a 3.5 yo and a 1.5 yo. About the time my oldest was 13 I started getting inklings of empty nest syndrome, so I channeled my mothering energies into other people's kids by becoming a CASA volunteer. But then I became pregnant and had two girls close together and they keep me very busy, lol!

I just wanted to say that my fear had always been that as soon as my daughter graduated from high school she would move out and suddenly be not around much anymore. Well, for us it hasn't turned out that way and I'm so grateful. We are enjoying a slower transition as she lives at home still and is going to a nearby college. Next fall she will move in to a dorm but the university she chose is in our town, so I will still be able to see her anytime we want and she will come home to do her laundry. So my fears really haven't come to pass and it has been easier on all of us having things move slowly the way they have. Like sunnysideup said:
I do think that things change slowly (though it doesn't seem that way sometimes!), and your feelings adjust as time goes by.
Best wishes to you, and congratulations on your wonderful family!
post #4 of 11
frankly, this terrifies me. mine are much younger, but life has gone by. so. fast.

i mean seriously, there will be a day when they will not live with me.

post #5 of 11
If I may butt in from the "child" side, as the child of one overly clingy parent (dad) and one more casual parent (mom), I really believe that if you're able to hold on loosely and cultivate a real friendship with the child as they grow older, your relationship will endure and thrive long after the child has moved out. My mom and I are pretty close, especially considering we had years in my teens where we barely spoke (just personality conflicts, I'm an introvert, she's an extrovert, etc.) But because she hasn't tried to pin me down or dictate how close I am to her, but rather has always just *been there* I now feel like I can really trust her and our relationship is changing from just mother/daughter to more of two women friends of different ages. And it's really nice. So there's some proof that it really does pay off to hold on loosely, rather than tightly, because to get away from my dad, I had to full-on rebel and run away, but my mom I *want* to talk to, especially now that I'm becoming a mom myself.

Not sure if that made sense.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you, mamas--
Your commiseration and support does help. It is good to hear from each of you. nonconformnmom, I can see that happening with my daughter too--she is our middle child and very close to me, and when I read about your daughter living at home for a year and slowly moving into the dorms the next, that sounds like something that she would do, too.

Sunnysideup, I loved what you said about the changes that come slowly, too. I know that is how life works. I am never wistful about my childhood or even my younger wilder days in college and after, because I like the present day--so I am hoping that holds true as the kids grow.

Delicious, I am right there sniffling along with you You know what makes me *weep*---this is so corny---it is that song from Toy Story 2 that is called "When She Loved Me" by Sarah McLachlan. It is the story that Jessie the doll sings about her girl who owned her--but Sarah McLachlan said that she wrote it about her daughter and the bittersweetness of her growing up.

These are the words:
When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful
Every hour we spent together, lives within my heart
And when she was sad, I was there to dry her tears
And when she was happy, so was i, when she loved me.

Through the summer and the fall, we had each other, that was all
Just she and I together, like it was meant to be
And when she was lonely, I was there to comfort her
And I knew that she loved me.

So the years went by, I stayed the same
And she began to drift away, I was left alone
Still I waited for the day, when she’d say "i will always love you."

Lonely and forgotten, never thought she’d look my way,
She smiled at me and held me, just like she used to do,
Like she loved me, when she loved me

When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful,
Every hour we spent together, lives within my heart
When she loved me.

I heard that song in TJ Maxx last week, and I actually had to leave because I started to tear up. I know that sounds idiotic--but it just speaks to my feelings about this issue so much.

BSD, thanks for your perspective on the other side, too.

post #7 of 11

i made ds agree earlier he wouldn't grow up. dd still insists, though.
post #8 of 11
I get scared to death thinking about my kids grown up & living on thier own . My kids are 12, 10, 6, almost 4, & 2. My oldest will be a teenager this summer! Time goes way too fast .

Sorry I don't have any words of wisdom for you (OP). I'll need some myself as well.
post #9 of 11
I concur with everything being said here. My oldest will be a teenager in June also...time flies!
post #10 of 11
I know how you feel! I remember when my daughter was about 5 and I was crying because I only had 13 years left!! Well, that daughter (my only child...and I'm a single mom) is now 18. The beginning of this school year (her senior year) was so hard on me. As she left for her first day of school I cried...this is her last first day of school, this will be her last homecoming game/dance, last Sadie Hawkins, last prom. I was sooooo incredibly sad. Throughout this year things changed though. We are still very, very close...but she's kind of a creep (just being honest!). I have found myself looking forward to when she moves out. I can come home from work and my house will be as clean as I left it, no dirty dishes in the sink, no piles and piles of her laundry (that she tends to only do once a month!), I might actually get to use the phone or internet!

My daughter will still live with me while she continues on in school...which is great, but sometimes I am looking forward to her being out on her own! I cherish the time we have together, but like was said, it all changes and while I will miss her when she is gone...I am looking forward to the next adventure in my life!

My issue right now is how do I let go?! Yes, she is 18, but that doesn't mean that I stopped being a mom and caring and worrying about where she is. She seems to think that being 18 means not having to help out around the house or contribute in any way...hence the creep comment!
post #11 of 11
They do grow fast, don't they?!!? One thing that I am encouraging dd to do is go to school within an hour of home or closer. That shouldn't be a problem because we are in an area rich in great colleges. With ds, I am not too concerned about him leaving home. I am far more concerned that he may never want to want to move out. LOL- he is a mama's boy. I expect to have to pack his bags when he is 25 and tell him to spread his winds. I work really hard on our relationship- the one thing that would crush me more than anything is if the kids cut me out of their lives when they are older. I doubt that would happen but who knows. As it is right now, we're a tight-knit family. I will still miss the kids when they finally do move out but I hold out hope for...

GRANDKIDS (just not for awhile!)
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