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Empty Nester...Who Me?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Empty Nester...Who Me?

I am not yet an empty nester. There are about 6 or 7 years left before I reach that stage of life. But even so, with a daughter now in college and another daughter following close behind by about three years, I’m definitely feeling the pull of the inevitable time when it will be just my husband and me left here to entertain each other.

There is a commercial on T.V. where a 9 or 10 yr-old girl asks her father if she can borrow the car keys, to which he understandably reacts with shock and disbelieve because she’s much too young to drive. When his young 5 or 6 yr-old son is seen putting on a jacket and heading out the door with a briefcase, the father asks, where do you think you’re going, to which the little boy replies blandly, “to work”. It’s a pretty funny scene, but as a parent watching, that soft spot in my heart felt a little jolt. You would have to see the commercial to fully get the gist of the message: Where does the time go? How did all those years slip by so fast?

If I’m being smart, I should not get too sentimental about this topic yet. I’ve met plenty of parents who are just chomping at the bit to have their almost grown children move out permanently. After all, no matter how calm or chaotic your family life is, raising children has always been a challenging task, especially in today’s society. And I’d be lying if I said “not our family”. I recall quite a few instances during my DD1’s crazy high school years when I longed for the day she would eventually be on her own to experience first hand just how tough it is out in the big bad world. What normal parent hasn’t? Now that she is off at school enjoying a taste of independence away from us, the realization of how quickly this first step to total independence came has hit home hard.

Now my husband and I are adjusting to living with one teenager in the house for 8 or 9 months out of the year. With only two and a half years remaining before both children are away at school and “part time” residents in our house, we will be getting lots of practice for the “real thing”. The truth of the matter is, when the day finally arrives for both of them to permanently leave the nest, I honestly believe that I will not be ready to see them go.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTINIGAL413 2/3/2009 9:00PM

    Yep yep - like a comment a few down, I now have a completely different relationship with my mother now that I'm not living with her. But I have to say that frankly, I like it better. Not sure she does... but anyway.
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Don't forget that you're grooming them to do just that - become independent, self-sufficient adults. Embrace the change. It's a good thing. And kids will always need their parents (and probably vice versa). No worries. It's just a change- not a loss.

Comment edited on: 2/3/2009 9:00:51 PM

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SELINA985 2/3/2009 3:55PM

  Well, the bright side is that they will get their independence and a lot more appreciation for you as a household keeper when they see first hand that the laundry will not magically appear in the laundry basket. I can only imagine what it feels like, but I'm sure you have some of your wishes, whims, dreams to persue and fill your free time with those.

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NITAINMN 2/3/2009 2:38PM

    Hey Sue,
I have seen that commercial and loved it too! How quickly time flies - I used to say feels like its only ysterday that we got married but, now that both my daughters are married, I keep my mouth shut!! LOL. emoticon

We had a perfect child in our firstborn who stayed home and drove to college. Only in her final year, did she stay in an apartment sharing with someone to return home to her own apartment in our basement! Then, she went off to CA for her Masters and PhD. when my younger one went away to college. She was totally a different story! A typical rebellious teenager and worse in first year of college although, she wanted to be a lawyer from age 5 and pursued it all the way! When she came home, no chores were done, although kept her room neat. We could not wait for her to leave and an empty nest but, she improved totally!! Life is strange I suppose. emoticon

Yet, I loved being with my hubby - having all the private time and romance. I married at 19 and had my eldest at 20 - no privacy at all! emoticon

Now on the other hand, I miss the laughter of a family in our home, want grand children to fill that space, but daughter are not ready for another couple of years! You will adjust very nicely, let me tell you! Nothing to be afraid of ;-) emoticon

Good blog! Thank You:) emoticon

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SUZY6281 2/3/2009 1:28PM

    I've been an empty nester for a year now. The circumstances of my last daughter leaving weren't the best, so it has been a difficult transition. The silence can be deafening. However, my husband and I have discovered slowly over the past year how much time we suddenly have together and how much we enjoy that.

I guess it is learning to let go and then enjoying what you have. My girls are doing fine and so are we. And we have the whole rest of our lives to look forward to. You will find that you will adjust, and it won't be such a bad thing.

suzy

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KALISWALKER 2/3/2009 12:21PM

    They go through the crazy high school years so when they grow up and leave home, it doesn't break your heart LOL. However, it is such a huge change in your life and it is something you have to plan for. Now is the time to start spending more time with your DH, your friends, and getting new interests. Think of all the time you have spent on them and now you have that time to nuture yourself and find things of interest to you.

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Lynn

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INTHESPOTLIGHT 2/3/2009 11:14AM

  I am not a parent, but I imagine that being hard. My mom and sister broke their releationship when she left and though my brother still lives at home, he is 21 and acts like it. The only one my mother hasn't "lost" is me, but I have worked hard to make her see that we are now "friends", not mother and daughter. I mean, we always will be, but as a married woman, I don't need my mother like I used to. I think once she got used to that idea, it made it a little easier on both of us to make those changes.

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ZERNIKE 2/3/2009 9:29AM

    This is very well written!

My only child, my son, is grown and out of the house, but he is also my best friend! We talk every day and always make plans to do things together. So, life is not always what you think it will be. Mine has grown richer!

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LFLFLPLP 2/3/2009 9:05AM

    Though I am quite a way form being an empty nester (had my now 4yo when I was 30), the time when my only daughter will go off to college is approaching (well in about 6 years) and I already feel as though I'm bracing for it. In a way, I look forward to it. I'm hoping we will have a more calm relationship as right now she is 13 and in the full hormonal craziness stage.

I think the thing that gets to me about it is that when she was 6months I quite working to stay home with her and then had 3 more so my life feels like it doesn't belong to me. I've wrapped my whole being around my children which I know is not healthy. I think I'm at a point right now where I'm yearning to have something of my own. The good thing is that it has sparked my desire to really get fit again an it's going well. But who will I be when they are gone? You know?

I really enjoyed this blog and I think I'm going to take some time to start analyzing my life and deciding who I will be in the future when I don't have kids to take care of anymore.

Have a great day!

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