This week my husband and I sent both of our children off to college, one for the first time as a college freshman.

The first time we sent one off to college, two years ago when our older daughter started as a freshman, the transition was tough on the rest of the family. Downsizing the household by 25% sent shockwaves in varying degrees to those of us back home.

Dan and I were left balancing the needs of one daughter still at home navigating junior year of high school, and another in the throes of being a university freshman with all the challenges that transition brings. But this time around, we sent both girls off on their own.

And now, there is a strange feeling that emerges when we come home to a quiet house expecting to see or hear our girls and/or their friends.

It is difficult to not be as immersed in the daily lives of our children and have to watch from afar as they thrive on their own. It is similar to the feeling of sending them off on the first day of Kindergarten or saying goodbye to a friend you won’t see for a long time.

People keep asking me what I’m going to do now that the girls have gone. Well, for one, I’m going to start buying the crunchy peanut butter, search their bedrooms for the missing scissors, and enjoy the fact that their bathroom floor is not covered with dirty clothing.  The “empty nest” gives me a little more freedom to come and go as I please, to visit friends and family more readily, and to have a more predictable routine. I’ve started a list of all the things I said I would do one day: own a red jeep, try kickboxing, visit all the National Parks – maybe I’ll actually do them now.

But for now, I’m going to relish the knowledge that my husband and I raised two great kids who are going to continue to make us proud.  I’m glad I had the chance to make them my focus these past twenty years because motherhood taught me quite a few things.

  1. Take a deep breath: Things are going to go wrong, but then they eventually go right, and you all get stronger in the process.
  2. Be patient, notice and listen: Little, medium and big voices have amazing things to share.
  3. Find balance in all things: Eat the cookie dough AND the veggies; Run AND walk; use your indoor AND your outdoor voices.

Funny, sounds like yoga, huh?

Take a deep breath, notice and find balance.

So simple, yet how soon we forget to apply these to our everyday experiences.  As you close out your summer and move through your own transition period, look at the things that “go wrong” as opportunities to practice your breathing and see the lessons offered in that moment.  Listen to all the voices who have something to share with you – they might have an idea you haven’t considered. Balance your body, mind and spirit with activities, food and thoughts that support you (and ultimately the people around you) in the most positive way.

So whatever is going on in  your nest, look for the lessons and lean on your yoga.