“To the parents saying goodbye and bravely dropping off kids to school, back in the routine with family or empty nested, I wanted to let you know… they come back.
And they don’t come back, both.
They come back on weekends or breaks.
Or call to say they miss home and you’ll make sure they get a box from home via FedEx, 24 hours later.
They come back when they need help or money or a hug.
All I’ve learned after 5 years of an empty nest is this: let them.
Don’t chase. Don’t call every day or even every week.
Let them call you.
Because the thing no one says but I know for sure is: they don’t come back— not as you knew them.
Not as you remembered the 5-year-old smiling at you or the 10-year-old on a skateboard or roller skates trying to learn to balance, or the 16-year-old ignoring you.
They exist, but only in your heart, and that counts. It’s your world and it counts. Nobody can outgrow or take away that love. It’s all still there.
But they come back having suffered, learned the hard way, failed at things we tried to buffer. They come back with days they’ve lived on their own.
They’ve forgotten to pay a bill or do their homework and no one was there to fix it for them – so they’ve grown.
We wanted them to, remember? And they are.
If we keep looking for them to return, we’re going to miss the miracle of parenting: that we loved them so much for so long that they are becoming themselves.
We did it. They are doing it.
So go ahead and feel the inertia of an empty bedroom and chair at meals.
Cry as if every tear was a day well lived: imperfect and beautiful. It’s a huge loss. It’s okay to not even know how to cry… or to not stop for a while.
You’ve earned this moment. And let them go.
So you can watch them return.
I’m SO PROUD of you. With much love.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Vikki Spencer. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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