My Empty Nest - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tomorrow my oldest child graduates from college. Three weeks from today, my youngest graduates from high school. This is a big deal. I knew it was going to be a big deal, but it’s actually turning out to be a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

And yesterday, I had a dark Mom moment. A wave of anger overtook me and I exploded on my two children who are about to leave the nest. I’m in the process of making amends with them and myself. Have you ever had a dark moment - as a partner, parent or friend? I would love to hear about it here: corinne@corinnecoppola.com.

I thought I was prepared for this Empty Nest thing. I’ve been through all the hard stuff - I’ve been exiled from my family of origin for the past 14 years, I’ve had a marriage fall apart, I’ve been fired, I’ve lost dear friends to cancer and suicide - loss is part of life.


I have an advanced degree focused on managing change, I help people navigate transitions, grief and difficult emotions for a living, I know and use all of the tools and still I fail AND I get back up again.


The key is learning how to get back up. How to show up and accept failure in ourselves with grace, compassion and forgiveness, so we can teach our children how to do the same. How do we do it? In tiny steps; in tiny ways and with more patience and tenacity than we ever thought possible.

Two weeks ago, in my closing classes at George Washington University, the topic of forgiveness came up. And this week in my private practice, one of my clients asked about it. Forgiveness is what I call - the other “F” word. It’s messy, unpredictable, and is layered in love. To me, forgiveness is alot like grief - forgiveness is a PROCESS and it needs to start with ourselves. With forgiveness, we need to start small. We don’t try to begin with the big grievances and hurts, it just doesn’t work that way.


I need to forgive myself for my shortcomings yesterday and I need to forgive the behavior that pushed me there. I have to continue letting go of the past and focus on the future and the type of Mom and woman I want to be. I am learning to love the dark parts of me as well as the light - all of these parts serve a purpose and need to be seen and loved. (Parts work is phenomenal - ask me about IFS)


So today, I am encouraging you to do one kind thing for yourself. Maybe it’s something you would normally do for someone else, but instead do it for you! I’d love to hear about it here: corinne@corinnecoppola.com.

Corinne Coppola teaches women and families actionable practices that transform feelings of depletion, loneliness and anxiety to hopeful, energized and connected. By helping families slow down and learn new ways of relating to themselves and each other, Corinne helps her clients build greater resilience and wholeness to live their best life. Schedule a call to learn how she can help you.

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