CBS 19 Special Report: Empty Nesters - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

CBS 19 Special Report: Empty Nesters

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LONGVIEW, TEXAS (KYTX) An empty nest - a lot of parents are just weeks away from facing a life without their kids at home.  We raise our children, preparing them for adulthood but when they leave, our homes feel empty.

"I'm excited about being on my own," says 18 year old Brooke Davis.

Brooke Davis and her mom Beth are busy this summer making last minute plans.  Brooke leaves for her freshman year of college at the University of Arkansas in just a few weeks. "Last week I made my class schedule and I was like OMG. It was really real and really scary," admits Brooke.

For her mom, scary just doesn't cover the emotions she has as she thinks about her only child leaving home. "It's bitter sweet. It really is. We've planned for this day for a long time and I can't believe it's here already," says Beth.

Beth is a single parent. She says she managed to hold it together through graduation but she's dreading one moment that will come all too soon.   "The biggest thing for me is going to be when I come home that first night and she's not going to be here. That's going to be huge. It really is," says Beth as she begins to cry.

Deanna and Charlie Muller have already had that moment. Their son Ryan left for school a few years ago.  Nathan just last year. "When it finally hit me that the children were both gone is when we moved Nathan and we came back home. I was about to cleanup their rooms and the furniture was gone and it was like a part of me was missing," says Deanna.

The Muller's, like many parents, dedicated their lives to raising their children.  "We did everything with them. All the sports activities and all the church activities. We were very involved," says Deanna.

What the Muller's soon discovered is that with the boys gone, along with all of their activities, their lives weren't filled with emptiness but instead new things to do. "We spend more time together," says Charlie.

"We go hunting together. He even goes shopping with me," says Deanna smiling.  Charlie adds, "we like to take little trips together just over night, couple of nights, whatever. Now we  don't have to worry about what to do with the kids," says Charlie.

In fact, that empty room that filled Deanna with sadness is now filled with much more. "This is Nathan's room and when he left for college we came in here and made it our exercise room slash computer and TV room," says Deanna.

The new room is a symbol that though it is hard for parents to let their children go, life does go on. New adventures await everyone.

"I'm excited for her but it's also a little exciting for me to be able to think that now I can do some things that I've wanted to do and be around my friends more and maybe get involved more.  I could volunteer and do some things that I really haven't felt like I had the opportunity to do in the past.  It may be a way to rediscover who I am again," says Beth.

No matter how far children go or how old they grow, in a parent's heart, they will forever be our little ones. "I text the boys every night, good night. That's kind of my mom's piece of mind that my children are okay," says Deanna.

The young adult's beginning is the parent's ending of one chapter-with anticipation of another.

Experts say it's important for parents to look at this time as another phase in life. They suggest taking a vacation you've always wanted to take, get reconnected with old friends, or take up a new hobby.  You may not want to get too used to having a cleaner, quieter home. Statistics show that many adult children end up moving back home, even if for just for a short time.