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Where's My Empty Nest?




I need some advice. What do you do when you have given your kids all you can, and its almost time for college graduation, and you see them coming home again?
Another MOM

Hi,  Another MOM!

I had to smile at your letter. I guess, like me, you are still waiting until you are "grown up" and can do what you want to do! Right? In other words, when can we pass on the mantel of responsibility and be off the hook? Well,  I will take a shot at it and you can let my ideas have such value as they are entitled to.

I personally have only two perspectives on the issue. One as a returning to home young adult who had been away to school and another as the parent of a returning to home young adult.

I remember well leaving my parental home for the final time. My mother and I had several good chats about it years later. When my education was finished, (for then at least) it frankly never even occurred to me to make plans other than to return to my parents home. Young people tend to think that where their parents are, there will always be a room for them. It never occurs to them that Mom sees their room as her potential sewing room or that Dad may covet a study.

Well, I had no job at that time so after the semester was over I moved home. About two weeks later, I had a job and was delighted with my new status. Years later my mother told me that I became a real pain in the neck. She said I was so jealous of my new found freedom as a young adult that I wouldn't follow any rules or listen to any advice and things were quite tense. Funny, I don't remember that at all!?

My folks said nothing for about two months. By that time, I had a nice little savings account. One day after work, my mother took me aside and told me as kindly as she could that she and my father had been looking forward to the day when they would be alone to enjoy the pleasure of each others company as they had when they were first married. She told me that they loved me and would always hold me close in their hearts but that it was time for me to be the adult that they had invested so much of their lives helping me become. She told me that she understood that it was scary to go out in the world and depend on myself but she had confidence that I could do it. She offered to help me look for a place if that was what I wanted.

Well, honestly, I had no idea that my parents wanted to be alone. Young people are very aware of their own hopes and dreams but have no idea that their parents my have hopes and dreams too! When it was explained to me, I actually got pretty excited about it and had my own place in a day or two. Of course, Mom being Mom, I was sent forth with all the gleanings from her closets, drawers, kitchen cabinets and enough food to feed any Kosovo family!

I have launched all but one of my kids now and like you I am very much looking forward to my empty nest. The experience with each child has been different. Some wanted to go at 16 and had to be slowed down. Others, like myself, had to be given a bit of a nudge to take to their wings and fly. And, one had to be given a great big shove.(LOL) But, each time I remembered the kindness of my mother. Her greatest kindness to us both was her ability to hold an open and honest discussion with me. Even when I was being told the time had come to make it on my own, I never doubted my mother loved me, believed in me and had my best interest at heart.

Since I am sure that you too love your child believe in them and have their best interest at heart, I know you can do this very hard thing and in years to come you will be visiting with your child and have a good laugh about it all.

The best advice I have is to let your child know you. And, as you share in their dreams let them share in yours. They may even help you fix up that sewing room. But, really, that probably won't happen at least not in this life. But, at least you will have the room back!

Good luck and let me know how it all turns out. Thousands of parents want to know!


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