How to Handle Change

Photo taken in my yard on August 9, 2012
Yesterday morning the twin fawns were back. Still spotted, hyper vigilant and skittish, they foraged in our yard for nearly an hour. But something was missing... their mother.

The evening before, my husband encountered a doe acting "addled," not seeming to notice him or care that he was taking the trash out right beside her. I wonder if that was her, searching for her fawns.

I could't help but worry that these young ones might still need the protection of their mother. From my research, though, I've learned that nature has a way of caring for its own and they will probably be all right.

The new school year is upon us. Fall necessarily brings with it lots of change and families are separated as children go off to school, or college, or careers, many for the first time. It can be unsettling for everyone involved. So how to handle the change? Here are a few tips for empty nesters:

  1. Allow yourself time to grieve. (What???) No, really, I mean it. As your children grow up there is loss involved and it's okay to recognize that. Things will never be the same again (they never are). Shed a few tears if you need to.
  2. Celebrate! Your children are growing up and you are doing your job as a parent by helping them to become strong and independent. Hooray for you!! Hooray for them!!
  3. Focus your life on something you love (not just your family). The more nurturing you are to yourself, the more you have to give to others.
  4. Don't worry. Worry can make you "addled" and distracted and keep you from living a full life. Also, the more confident you are in your children's ability to make it in the world without you, the more empowered they feel. Give them that gift. 
  5. Remember: Failure is not fatal. Failure is just an opportunity to learn and improve. No one has ever succeeded without failing. We all fall down while learning to walk. 
  6. Embrace change. Every day is a gift and every day is different. That's the beauty of life. There are benefits to every phase of life. Enjoy where you are this day.
Those twin fawns may or may not have been abandoned by their mom. What impressed me most, though, was how they were taking care of each other. They groomed each other and warned each other when they heard or saw something "dangerous" and were never more than a few feet away from each other. Something tells me they're going to be just fine.