Understand Your Emotions
Family therapist Cathy Brody, co-author of Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, says that parents can be blindsided by the range of emotions they feel when their child leaves home. "We worry about them. We're afraid for them. We want to protect them," she says. "We're excited. We're envious."
While this array of emotions can come out of nowhere, Cathy says many women forget that separating from their children is a lifelong process. "From the moment when children are born and that umbilical cord is cut, we start this separation, this process of separating from our children, and it is so hard to really realize that they are separate beings from us," she says.
But Kristin Clark Taylor, author of Black Mothers: Songs of Praise and Celebration, says the moment you say good-bye to your child doesn't have to be full of grief. "If anything, it should be a moment of untold joy," she says. "Even if you're saying good-bye with little tears misting in your eyes, let those tears be some sadness, but let them mostly be tears of joy."