Most of my homeschool friends whose children have grown and left for college or jobs have said the same thing. They were unprepared for how much they would MISS them! It is a huge adjustment, because for years we have had them around pretty much all day, every day! Sometimes, even the older ones who still physically live at home are so much in their own independent world that they are still "missing" from the family. One friend half-jokingly suggested that we start a support group for homeschool moms of grown children, to help work through the transition to "retirement".
Not only do we miss having our children around, but we also lose that "extended family" of their close friends. Many of my children's friends are like part of our family, and I miss seeing them at ballgames or co-op or the other activities that were part of our regular routine. Thankfully, I can still
Another real issue as your children grow up is how to handle holidays and vacations. It has been hard on my older children as well as on me to have them miss family camping trips or visits up north to see grandparents and relatives. It used to be that the whole family would make the annual trip to Massachusetts each summer to visit the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But this past summer only 1 of my 5 children made the trip. It makes me very sad to think that my children might now go years without seeing their grandparents. I think it is even sadder because I see myself getting closer to that time of life when I may not get to see my own children for extended periods of time. It has already happened with my oldest son, who is on his 2nd year-long deployment overseas with the Army, thus missing another Thanksgiving and Christmas with our family.
I know my mother went through this, as has every mother since the beginning of time. Transitions are tough. There's just nothing easy about it. To all you moms with little ones who can't wait for them to grow up - be careful what you wish for.
It will come all too soon.