While some empty nesters bid farewell to their children and return home giddy with plans for that hobby room that has been desired, a fair share feel as empty as their now-vacant house.
It is possible to banish the blues that come from saying goodbye to grown children who are going off to college, getting married or leaving for military duty. Here are some ways to put a smile on your face.
• Look ahead. Don't spend days looking at old photo albums reliving the past. Yes, your baby boy grew quickly; now he's a 6-foot-tall certified public accountant.
Plan for your future with your spouse. Make a list of all the things you've wanted to accomplish that were always shelved due to familial responsibilities. Now that you have the time, do these things.
• Set sparks ablaze. Too often couples put their own needs aside for the needs of their children. This can take a toll on the relationship and intimacy. Now that the kids have flown the coop, get to know your spouse again. Go on dates, be daring around the house. Live like you did when you were newlyweds.
• Foster relationships with friends. Just because you've traded in carpools and soccer practice for invitations to each other's children's weddings, that doesn't mean you have to lose touch with friends. Take the time to schedule "Empty Nest" parties, where parents in similar situations can enjoy companionship.
• Go ahead and renovate the house. Don't feel guilty about turning your son or daughter's former room into a space that caters to your interests. Whatever the case, make your plans to change the house to meet your needs instead of the whole family's needs.
• Plan family reunions. If the thought of having all the kids under the same roof again makes you smile, schedule plenty of family get-togethers so everyone can catch up in person. Whether it's cake and coffee or a big backyard barbecue, savor the moments with your family.
Despite being excited about the success of their grown children, many parents experience empty nest blues once the kids have moved out.