Arcadia is a family-centric neighborhood known as a great place to raise kids. But eventually, these kids actually grow up and leave home. That’s when parents eventually reach what is known as the “empty-nester stage.”
Census data shows that more than 15 percent, or 18 million U.S. households are empty-nesters, defined as occupied by parents who don’t have children of any age living at home. This number is growing as more and more mothers and fathers drop their kids off at college and watch them prepare to navigate adulthood.
This Fall there will be many Arcadia families experiencing this for the first time. Luckily, there’s plenty of others who have been through the same adjustment period, and they have some advice for how to get through the harder parts.
Charles Forker says he and his wife are lucky that, although their kids moved away for college, they came back to the Valley for their careers and to settle down. Charles says they found it tough when their kids left at first, but were able to cope by “keeping busy and finding things to do in Arcadia.” He credits the array of volunteer and social opportunities in Arcadia for helping him and his wife stay focused and fill their time that was suddenly no longer needed to shuttle kids around and prepare them for school and sports.
Although it was hard at first, he says they learned to adjust and knew it was in their children’s best interests to develop a life away from their childhood home in Arcadia.
By remembering that your kids are only a phone call, short drive or flight away, it becomes easier to cope with an increasingly quiet and lonely house. It’s also important to for empty-nesters to remember how this is all part of life’s journey, and it’s essential for their adult children to learn to live and thrive on their own.
Local mom Virginia Shaffer says that her own mother instilled some valuable wisdom when she was preparing for law school. “My beautiful mom said ‘I have given you the wings to fly. Now go fly and I trust that from time to time you will come back to the loving nest you came from. That is my greatest hope, now go enjoy your flight wherever that may take you’.”
Virginia says these words have always remained with her, and she plans to approach her eventual empty nesting with the same attitude.
“It was so true. She and my dad laid such a beautiful nest full of love and support that she was confident I’d come back when I needed and wanted to, and for that I will always be grateful,” she said. “That is what I strive to do with my own kids. Because I know it’s a recipe for success, even though I shudder at the thought of that day when my children fly away.”