Hello, my name is Michelle and I’m an empty nester.

Last week my 22-year-old daughter was the last little birdie to fly the nest.

Of course I am happy for her. How could I not be? She’s a vibrant, independent, amazing young woman. She knows who she is. She’s fearless and fun. She’s an awesome friend. A hard worker. The love of my life and the apple of my eye.

And while I’m happy for her…I’m struggling.

Until she left I didn’t realize how much of my identity for the last 22+ years has depended on being her shelter, care-giver, provider, and mom.

Yes, I will always be her mom…but it’s different now.

  • She used to live upstairs. Only 13 steps. Now Google Maps shows a distance of exactly 74.8 miles from my doorstep to hers.
  • She used to come in after work most nights and sit on my bed and tell be about her day. Now we text and call.
  • We used to grab lunch.

74.8 miles makes those things a lot more difficult. I am so grateful that we have a good relationship – that we call and text. That I have no doubts that she loves me.

And it’s not all bad. There have been a few positive changes over the last week.

  • My hair conditioner stays at the same level that I leave it. Every day.
  • There are only three pairs of shoes on the landing – not 20.
  • The powder room is makeup-free.
  • Her bedroom is being painted to become my craft room.

So yes, there’s good things and difficult things.

And yes, I will always be her mother.

And yes, I’m so proud of her.

And yes, it’s amazing to see her grow and spread her wings and fly.

But part of me will always miss having my little girl around. I wonder if every mom feels this way. Or if it’s different for moms who raised one daughter alone for 13 years. Or if I’m just an overly-emotional peri-menopausal person. Change is hard. Finishing a chapter isn’t easy.

But I am excited about the new chapter and what it may hold. For both of us.

Your bedheaded blogger,