Tag Archives: empty nest

Passing On Pencils

4 Sep

I loved back to school shopping. The new pencils, crayons, pencil bags and back packs. All organized and ready to go for that first day. 

Let me make something clear however……I hated the school lists –
” buy 4 single subject wide ruled notebooks. ”  My eyes would glaze over finding the single subject vs 2 subject or the college ruled vs wide ruled., and that was before I hit 50 and had to have reading glasses. 

But when my kids all left for the ivory towers of higher learning I hated walking through the back to school section without that list. And it seemed as the notebooks and pens and pencil bags had become much cuter too and were mocking me as I had no list to fill.

I recently needed ink for my printer and hustled off to the office big box down the street. I saw all the signs and the cheerfully beckoning bins of back to school items and felt…….nothing. Zip. Not nostalgia, not relief, not anything. 

I guess at some point we do move on! Perhaps it followed a summer of driving 3 days with one son to deliver him to his summer internship half a country a way, or nursing a tonsil less young adult for many weeks. Maybe I’m just ready for the next chapter now. 

Today I opened a cabinet and saw staring back at me a thermos soup container – you know, one of those keep cold, keep warm with its own spoon or fork thing. My first thought was “that’s gotta go”  Off to Goodwill and may it be part of someone else’s lunch box. I do feel relief….no more dashing about making lunches I hope they will eat. WHEW! Yep I’ve moved on………

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Noticing Other’s Nests

17 Aug

This spring created a lot of empty nests for friends and acquaintances. I have been surprised by the number of divorces following the emptying of the nest. Various reasons have been given for the divorces.

Empty nest presents the moment when you look at your spouse and there isn’t any distractions. We have aged nearly 30 years since we were smitten with each other. I keep thinking if those couples had just waited a bit….. Or maybe they were thinking they had waited long enough!

The movie “Hope Springs” captures one such couple. They have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for the past few years and haven’t had sex in 5 years. We watch their routine lives and it appears the husband is fine with the status quo and the wife wants to rekindle or move on. What made me think the most, was we discover the husband misses what they once had and finally reaches out to get back what they once had.

If someone asked me…..I would say “wait…..it is fun to find your friendship again and be able to do things just for us.”
Yes there are the moments I look at my husband and really am not madly in love with him. I am sure that is what he is thinking too at times (although surely not…..I’m perfect….right?” There is something to say about weathering it all, making it through and then understanding it is a new beginning. I recently returned from visiting our daughter, and when I returned my husband said “I really hate when you aren’t here. I finally figured out that I feel off balanced when you are gone. Nothing feels right” His answer surprised me as he seems often swimming in his own lap lane while I tread water off on my own.

It is a great movie – very thought-provoking. And, even better was watching an older woman sitting in front of me. Every embarrassing moment she covered her eyes and couldn’t watch.

If you look for a friend in your spouse, it may just be possible to see that person is still there.

Step away from the book

23 Mar

I love to read……..No I become obsessed by reading. I love a good book that blows away the imagination. I recently read “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgentstern. I am amazed by the images and characters she created with her words. 

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Then, I followed with “Outlander”. It was recommended by a friend of mine and it is on the NY Times best sellers list. But I really didn’t love it. It bored me at times – woman steps between rocks and goes back 200 years and falls in love. I know lots must love it – but it really wasn’t my thing.  Maybe I just have no desire to leave in the 1700’s – no plumbing no internet……

So tell me why I couldn’t stop reading the book? Why not close it (or in my case turn off my Kindle) and walk away from the book? There has only been about one book I didn’t finish.  I hold out hope it will get better – I will like the plot or the characters better if I just keep reading. Not only did that not happen for me……..I discovered it is a series and keeps going ! I refuse!!  “Hunger Games”? couldn’t put down  and was happy there was another. “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” couldn’t wait to hit the next book. 

The problem with an empty nest is I do have time to read and no one to distract me from the book. There is no one to save me from myself. What is wrong with closing a book and not finishing ? Why can I not do that? 

I have lots of projects I have abandoned. Why not a book? 

To read a book I really didn’t love (maybe it was just following “The Night Circus” – tough act to follow) and find out there is another book and the story didn’t end??? 

UGH! Really……..I am not going to download the next book………probably.

 

 

Pondering

31 Jan

I have been scanning old photos of my mother’s. I am scanning them to preserve them and to share them with siblings, cousins, aunts and all. It is a process that takes time. But the time it takes to examine a photo forces me to pause and identify the moment and faces.

I have a batch of photos from when my mother was in college. I love seeing her in her youth, before she was a wife and a mother. Now she is 87 and still doing well but I really love trying to imagine her as a young woman. I love the group of photos from when she was in California in 1946. She would have been 22 years old. She remembers the trip well. She went with her Aunt and felt like country bumpkins dropped into that world. That isn’t what I see.

I see a beautiful woman crossing a street in downtown Los Angeles wearing a smart suit and pumps. I see the adventure of boarding a steam ship to Catalina Island. I see a woman visiting the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I think how daring they were.

I was scanning a photo of my mom standing on the steps of her family’s home and noticed she had written a note to my father. It was dated 1950, when they were dating.

The photos lend a different perspective to my parents. With my own children out of the nest, and I try to find my own identity again, it is great fun to ponder my own parents lives before marriage and children.

My mother in LA 1946

My mom, Donna, in the late 40's

Another Reason An Empty Nest is Good

20 Jan

I never took a lot of vacations without my kids when my kids were little. I was one of those neurotic moms who was sure their kids would fall apart or worse should I be so selfish.

Both of our kids grandmother’s were on the older range of grandparents. OK, I did ask my mother to babysit and to my surprise she said “No thanks”. She loved her grandkids but didn’t want to have to run them around and take care of them overnight. Seriously, it was a lot of work!

So now as I readily pack up and go off on trips, I now appreciate the empty nest. It has taken me over a year to settle into appreciating the next phase of life. I’m a slow learner. I still miss the everyday moments of just being with my kids – although perhaps my oldest son’s boomerang back to home for his senior year helps. It helps to see your kids enjoying their independent lives. Let me revise – partially independent. We still foot the bills!

But I like the freedom that has arrived with an empty nest. It has taken a while to not focus on the empty part, but now I am seeing life beyond the nest. I have strangers, friends and acquaintances asking how long does it take to adjust – for me 18 months. For my neighbor – 1 day.

I have some catching up to do…….

On vacation in Steamboat Springs!

I Am A Slow Learner

11 Jan

ages 4, 7, 9

It is interesting as kids age from teens to young adults. I still think of them as my babies and want to mother them, and give them advice and try not to smother them. And I mean smother on many levels!

They are old enough to make their own decisions and mistakes and I find I can now look back on my parenting and see my mistakes as a parent. I was definitely guilty of doing too much for them and trying to never let them fail. I now see failure as a good thing in maturing to an adult. (Although I don’t see any good come out of my own failures!)

My latest examples…..My middle child was heading back to college this semester and I find he dropped a lot of classes (rather than take a failing grade) So I paid $10,000 for a couple of classes? So I’ve decided to let go – he has a bit of money, so I told him he was paying for the semester. It was his money to lose and if he does well – I will repay him, but I was no longer funding him to play video games and ignore life. Today is the first day of classes and he sent me a text “In class”. YAY! It is a start, but I will take it as a positive step. I hope this is his turning point. He will have to change his habits to succeed and I hope he does – but he will have to bear the failure this time. 

My oldest son…..he partied his first 3 semesters at a private east coast prestigious University. We (along with the University)finally said – “ENOUGH!” brought him home and told him to get a job. When he couldn’t be bothered, his Dad took him to his office to do filing. He quickly found a job. I hoped he would find he would rather go to school than work at a low paying job. Unfortunately the company quickly realized how capable and smart he was and suddenly he was making 6 figures. So much for my wicked plan..But he got a new boss who was quite unethical and a bit of an ass (YAY!) and my son decided to go back to school. He learned he wanted to “be the boss” and for that he would need that piece of paper. But this time, he realized how hard it is to earn the money to pay tuition and took out a loan and pays part of his own tuition. And, he is on the Dean’s list. 

I look back to lower school, middle school and high school and how my love for them prevented me from just letting them fail…..I didn’t make them get summer jobs or really require a lot of household responsibilities of them. They are wonderful, loving boys and I look back on a lot of fun in their childhood, but I think a little responsibility could have gone a long way. 

My daughter? She is clearly from another planet. She is 18 and a hard working responsible kid. I have no explanation. I won’t take credit but will just give thanks for the blessing.  

Catching my breath!

6 Jan

One of my friends and followers commented on the lack of blogs – I’ve been busy…..really busy.
One of the advantages of adult kids and no workplace job is I can do and go on the spur of the moment.

Two of my kids declined to come home for Thanksgiving. It is a long trip for a couple days and very expensive but dang – I make a mean turkey….isn’t that enough? And there was pie!

At Christmas I decided I wanted family time – so I booked a last minute trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. Did I mention I hate rides? But they love them and it actually turned out to be the trip I hoped it would be. No computers and everyone had a great time – (That is how you know your kids are growing up – they are no longer too cool to actually admit they are having a great time)

And this week? I was incredibly selfish. My daughter and I met my dear friend and her daughter in Glenwood Springs Colorado for a day at the spa and hot springs. When I arrived I had a horrible cold, when I left I felt like a new woman. The 24 hours was proof of the healing affect of steam and too much laughter. I highly recommend large doses of laughter and never underestimate the value of a great friendship.

The year has begun and two of my kids have left to pursue their dreams…..well one is pursuing a dream….jury is still out on what the other is doing.

While I am missing my kids, this time I feel grateful – for their health, their laughter and love.

Now time to figure out time management for the empty nester.

My resolution? Stop wasting time and seize the day. I put that in writing didn’t I?

Toasting Butterbeer

Toasting Butterbeer