With all the trials and tribulations that come with raising children, many parents joke that they cannot wait for their kids to grow up and get out of the house. But when that time finally comes, some parents find themselves feeling sad, lonely, and even depressed. Here is how to prepare for and cope with your feelings when the kids fly the coop.

When the older of Nancy Hebert's two daughters left for college, it was a relatively easy transition for Nancy, because her daughter attended a local college, just minutes away.

"I missed her, but it wasn't a very big lifestyle change," she says.

But when her younger daughter left a few years later to join the Air Force, Nancy's whole world seemed to turn upside down. "I fell apart," she says. "I was surprised by how hard it hit me."