I always thought paterfamilias and I had a solid marriage. It was tested when our kids--they were one year apart in school--left for college. Within a year, the house was empty. We had more fights those first few weeks than at any other period in our marriage. It was, I came to realize, because both of us were feeling low about our children leaving home. Positive though that journey is for them and us.
We survived. So do others. But every year a whole new flock of parents go through it. I just read something insightful by a health professional that I thought I'd share with the new flock:
"It is normal to go through a crisis when the children leave home. It is not easy, even though it is a healthy and positive process. When kids leave home, they leave room for something else. There remains a space in the house, a void that has to be filled. An empty space can produce uneasiness, discomfort, anxiety, emptiness, etc. until it is filled with something new."