In an essay for the Washington Post's Parenting column (The graduation speech we should be giving to parents), author Mary Laura Philpott puts into perspective what lies ahead for soon-to-be empty nesters.
The exact circumstances have been different for all of us, but among my friends, we’ve experienced countless surprises after our kids reached legal adulthood. We’ve navigated more changes of plans, academic hurdles, social issues, money troubles and midnight phone calls than all the pillowcases and shower caddies we bought back when we thought checking off shopping lists was the same as being ready. Back before we realized the stuff they packed was the least important part of being prepared. There’s so much joy and discovery ahead, but there are challenges coming too, and you can’t predict them. You owe it to yourself to shore up your strength, because being a parent never ends. It only changes.