Preschool and My Empty Nest

My daughter just started preschool and though it’s only been three days, and she’s gone only for 2 hours a day, I already feel like the house seems forlorn without the bumbling of My Little Miss Busy Bee.

I know I sound like one of those really clingy mamas, but I’m not. Really, I’m not. I had been wanting to send her off to preschool for almost a year now because I felt she lacked social exposure especially to kids her age. We stay in an area where the most predominant age group is upwards of 50. So while she’s quite comfortable among adults, she won’t mingle much with kids her age. Older kids are just fine by her. She loves her bhaiyas and didis ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

So finally when I did manage to find a good school in the vicinity, I got her enrolled immediately. I know a lot of parents go through a lot of pain and lose sleep at nights over admissions to schools of their choice. My sympathies folks, but luckily for me, I didn’t have to search for too long. I visited only one school that I’d heard a lot about, I found it good, and I enrolled her when I found they had a few slots available. I hope admission to her school in the future will be a cakewalk too :-/

The night before school started for her, I was fawning and fussing over her while my husband looked on like I’d lost it. I admit I was acting weird. All clingy and almost weepy that my girl had grown up so soon and her school life had already started, how she’d be gone for hours now and soon enough gone to college…. I know I got waaaaaaaay ahead of myself. But I think I’m beginning to feel what parents of grown up kids feel when they move out or grow distant. I can’t explain how it is exactly, probably because she isn’t gone from home that long. For me it’s a mix of relief (for having time to myself), happiness (because I know she’s learning new things), worry (what if she doesn’t eat her lunch), fear (what if she hurt herself), anxiety (what if she feels lonely and abandoned) and outright loneliness (she and I are joined at the hip, because she and I are mostly alone, while Papa sails).

I drop her off and come back to a near silent home which now feels alien to me; we’re so used to her giggles, squeals and her tantrum trumpeting. Me and my husband end up talking mostly about her, even when she’s not around. We’ll oscillate between discussing what we could do to improve her acceptance of school rules, to how cute she looks in her pigtails and school uniform. I keep expecting her to come barging into the room, pull my hand or the hem of my shirt for attention, and speak in an urgent tone as if it was the most important thing in the world, even if it’s only about how her teddy bear is eating/sleeping/drinking/pooping/crying. Or I keep hoping to hear a ‘Mumma’ from some corner of the house, while she baits me to play hide and seek with her.

Then I have to tell myself to stop being ridiculous. It’s only two hours. Yes it is, but those 2 hours mean that I won’t be able to see those smiles, those moments and improvements in her myself. I’ll get only second hand information on some parent-teacher meeting or notes from her teacher in her Almanac. I won’t be able to see her share her food with the kids in the class, or witness her first secret with a friend, or for that matter witness her forging that first relationship with someone unrelated to her – her first friend.

I suppose you may call it jealousy, or fear of losing control. I call it love. Because when you’ve loved someone so much, cherished them, nurtured them, have had them by your side every day, every hour, so that you can recognise the scent of their skin, or the way their footsteps sound, their constant presence becomes a habit. It ceases to irritate you. You don’t feel like they’re intruding in your life. You feel like there would be no life without ย them.

I suppose that’s how empty nesters feel when their kids grow up. I at least know I have many more years to go. She will always come back home. But what about them?


But such is life. We are born, we grow up and then we grow old. At some point children have to separate from their parents, not just physically. We parents must teach ourselves that this separation is an important lesson in life. We must not grudge them their desire to break free and live on their own. Didn’t we want to do the same? We would want them to forever be with us and live the way we want them to live, but that’s not the lesson life teaches us. This cycle of new and old teaches us that everything and everyone has their own time and place, beyond which they become redundant. Parents too may become redundant after a point in their children’s lives. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. The sooner we understand that, the easier letting go becomes.

empty nester


But for now, I’ll just tell myself, ‘It’s only two hours’


Copyright ยฉ2017 Pradita Kapahi.

All rights reserved.

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53 thoughts on “Preschool and My Empty Nest

  1. You have a looong way to go dear…
    Enjoy the 2 hr time window now… It will only go upwards from here and you’ll soon get used to it…
    The loneliness in the initial days is killing though and I guess all mothers grow up with it ๐Ÿ˜“

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pradita, I fully understand and empathize. there is of course a satisfaction when you do this for the little ones.
    But I hope the competitive pre-schools won’t give the little ones any stress

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have wondered about your post and commenting for a few hours. I could have just done a “like”, but in the end …..
    Dr C and I went through similar phases with our two children around 35 years ago, as every parent does, men too! It kicks in later for men, and nowadays we often discuss an incident when our children were in mid teens. They were two years apart, Mike was 15, Sharon was 13. They had both gone away on a school class trip to Amsterdam and Paris respectively. That first evening Dr C and I sat alone in our big house ……. in silence! I suddenly said to her “I think I have just had a glimpse of the future”. Empty house, children gone, working out how to reconnect with each other.
    Our children grew up to be wonderful people, both highly educated, both with strong moral convictions and being good citizens. Sharon gained a degree in psychology, works globally for GE the second largest corporation in the world. She lives with her husband 30 miles away, we holiday together, speak every day, support each other. Mike also gained a degree in psychology two years before Sharon ……… but died 6 months later from cancer.
    Why am I telling you this? Because Dr C and Sharon and I look back on Mike’s life with pride and no regrets. We were a family, we did many things together and many things apart. Our memories are so positive, we can remember and retell every moment, just as we were doing last weekend over a family wine tasting and just as we will this Friday as Sharon treats us on our 46th wedding anniversary. Find your own moral in this tale, we have ours, but we hope you will realise the real gift you give your children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an excellent lesson you’ve given me Dr. I’m really sorry to hear about your Son. I’m sure it must have been very very painful for you and your family. Losing anyone from your family is never easy and it almost never goes away, the pain of the loss. But I’m so glad to learn that you and your family not just coped with pain but also stood together through it. That’s what families do, support each other. Truly inspiring! I hope in the future I can maintain that kind of bond with my daughter too where she has her freedom but she’s a friend to me too. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I feel truly honored that you trusted me with your story ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh i so much agree with you… i too went through the same phase.. but now am happy coz he has learnt to socialise, get along with other kids, share (but not everything), and so many more things which probably wouldn’t have happened at home. Best part is he loves going to school.. so am relaxed and happy. and yes the i must say.. the teachers are doing a fantastic job.. i appreciate their efforts to handle so many children with equal love and care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m like that too. Just this school experience is different for me. I think it must be because throughout she’s been right before my eyes, even when she slept. The only time I left her out of my care was when I was running errands or out somewhere (the latter rarely being without her). Suddenly I have to leave her in an alien place where she’s being taken care of by strangers…. Feels odd. ๐Ÿ˜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I remember when my son started going to preschool, he didnt know any language other than Bengali so it was tough for him to communicate. One day in all seriousness he informed me that “Come here (in English)” meant “don’t cry (in Bengali)” My heart nearly broke for my poor little boy who was crying in school…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awwww… Poor thing! It gets so difficult for them t times, especially when they aren’t able to convey what they mean. My daughter’s verbal skills aren’t that great yet. There are times when I see the confusion clearly on her face “how do I tell them what I want”… I keep wondering if I can’t make out what she wants, how will these strangers? But I guess it’s something they all have to learn. That’s life.


  5. Happy for you !
    Finally schooling has been started !
    she wonโ€™t mingle much with kids her age. Older kids are just fine by her. She loves herย bhaiyasย andย didisย ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    This line made me laugh ๐Ÿ˜€
    Best wishes to her , god bless .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know how you must have feeling, or still feeling.. These little ones make our lives so full of them, that even in their brief absence, we feel like our life has no meaning.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I wish your daughter has the best school life ever and I hope the love and bond that you share with her keeps growing stronger by the day! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ โ™กโ™กโ™ก

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a good post. Made me nostalgic. I have felt the same thing when my son went to school for the first time as well.

    Every time my son isn’t there at home, we would discuss something about him, I imitate my son’s behavior to my wife and she laughs but at the end, we would start to feel how he is growing up so fast. But yeah, as you said, as parents, we need to learn to move on.

    For me and my wife, it’s 7 hours now ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh! 7 hours…. I dont know what I’ll do what that comes around. I think it’s a universal sentiment for us parents when kids start growing up. One by one they leave their ‘childish’ rituals and adapt to more adult ways. What’s left behind are memories. Thank you so much for reading ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm yeah, very true. It’s scary but we got to used to it, I guess (with heavy heart but not showing it to the kids ๐Ÿ˜› ). You write well, keep writing. I have updated my blog with a short story, when you have time, do read it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • With a heavy heart… You out it right! Thank you very much for your compliment. At the moment I’m a little tied up with my daughter’s illness, but I will for sure, visit your blog and read your story. Thank you a Guam for coming here ๐Ÿ˜Š

          Liked by 1 person

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