Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gracefully Aging, Day 28: Living in an empty nest

I cherish any time I spend with my daughter and two sons, because they all live away from me

"I love that my kids are all out of the house," said a friend to me recently. "When I clean something, it stays clean for a while. I can put something in the fridge that I want to have later and never come back to find it gone.  My husband and I don't have to hide it when we want to be intimate.  Honestly, when they come to stay for a while, I'm ready when it's time for them to leave!"

My friend just summed up some of the positive aspects of the empty nest...and there definitely are some!  However, her kids all live either in the same town or just a couple of hours away.

Insert whine here.  I live in Illinois, and all three of my grown children live in Texas.

My empty nest syndrome doesn't have anything to do with, say, not knowing who I am other than a parent, or not knowing what to do with myself.  It just really boils down to MISSING MY KIDS!

Since it doesn't appear that my husband and I will be moving to Texas any time soon, I deal with the problem by going to visit them as often as I can, and having them visit me as often as they can.

I recently quit my part-time job so that I would be more free to take these trips to Texas, because all three of my grandchildren are there too...and I'm quite simply CRAZY about them. I'm still adjusting to the loss of income, and trying to expand my freelance voice-over career to make up for it.

To me, here are some of the disadvantages of the empty nest:

1) Too much alone time.  My husband has a very busy job, and I often find myself alone.  I try to deal with it by reaching out to friends and family members...walking with my sister-in-law, going out to lunch.  And frankly, it doesn't hurt that I'm a voracious reader and can be content at almost any time and place with a book in my hand!

2) Feeling sorry for myself because my kids are so far away.  I try to deal with this by being involved in other things, like my church's prayer chain, working out, tackling home projects I never had time for when I was working, etc.

3) Again, quite simply, just MISSING my children.

But, as my friend said, there are advantages! Remember how crazy busy you used to be as a mom? Driving kids to activities, cooking, cleaning up after them, doing laundry, packing lunches, the never-ending cycle of duties and chores?

Those duties have either disappeared or greatly diminished, and that can be very enjoyable.

I'm going to leave you with some quotes about the empty nest.

After the last child moved out, my husband said, "Do you realize we can make love every single day, even in the daytime, in every single room in the house?" I had one single thought.... I need to find a day job fast. -- Robin Fox

via Pinterest

Now that the kids have moved on, I have two unoccupied kids rooms in my house. I don't call them that, I prefer to call them rent-free storage facilities. I got two rooms full of two decades worth of stuff they insist they need until they have a bigger place of their own. Only thing missing are a few dead cats and then we could be on "Hoarders." -- Robin Fox

via Pinterest

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the piles and piles of laundry will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly. - Thomas Manson

I'm participating in "31 Days: A Writing Challenge,"  in which I 'll be blogging on the subject of Gracefully Aging every day during the month of October.  Click the button below for more information and links to each post as they become available!


Unknown said...

You've hit a raw cord for me today, because my 31 post was a letter to my children on the day they move out. It made me cry while I wrote it, but it helped me to not wish them away too quickly. It made me appreciate the messy house, loud voices, and frustrating moments. It's good for me to read from the perspective of someone who's a few years ahead of me. Thanks for sharing.

Mrs Gray said...

My husband and I were both the last to move out of our parents' homes. We live close to both, and I am so glad--not only do parents miss their kids, but kids miss their parents!

Susan said...

Love the quotes. I am sitting here LOL. We've had an empty nest since 1996, 18 years! I've gotten pretty good at "it"!!! But I definitely have a full-time day job!!! xo

Anonymous said...

We do not have children, by choice, but I have a lot of friends who are empty-nesters and their favorite role is grandparent. There is no stronger pull than a grandma's love for her grands!!! I would love for you to move to Texas as you wouldn't be far from me and we could fill up some of your time with lunch for sure. Of course, once you moved to Texas being alone would no longer be your issue!!!

The Momma said...

I am an only child and when I left the nest, I think it was particularly difficult for my mom (less so for dad). This is an interesting perspective on the whole empty-nester thing. I've thought about it some, but this gives me some new insights. I hope you are able to go spend lots of times with your precious grands! I know my parents and my inlaws both are nuts about our kids :) My folks live in the same metro area as us, but my inlaws are several states away in Pennsylvania, so we only see them a couple of times a year. If we could, I'd love to live closer to them as I get along really well with all of my husband's family, but in particular, his mother who I affectionately call "Mom." I am very blessed to have an amazing mother-in-law!

Gabby said...

I am sure that must be so hard!! I'm in the opposite stage--surrounded by little bitties. :) Both stages have their perks and struggles.

Anonymous said...

It goes so fast! There are many perks to having an empty nest, and I have plenty of things to do that are interesting and keep me busy, but just missing them is the hardest thing.

Moi said...

I am reading this as someone who has any "empty nest" but only because we haven't filled it yet. We are starting to talk about having children soon and I love reading about it from the other side! Thanks for sharing!

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