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So what do you do with an empty-nest?


Replies to: So what do you do with an empty-nest?

  • tango14tango14 Registered User Posts: 1,578 Senior Member
    Last summer, I thought a lot about the empty nest when S1 was finishing his first year of grad school and S2 was heading off to college half way across the country. Then S1 came home for the summer and decided the academic life was not for him. S2 moved away (came home 3 times during the fall but decided not to come home for spring break) and S1 was still at home. He's working fulltime so we didn't see him all that much, but it was nice to have him around.

    He's moving out tomorrow (only about 1 1/2 hrs. away) to a new job and his first apt. S2 may be coming home briefly but has a summer job that will keep him away and out of cell phone/txt range. H has a fellowship this summer that will keep him in Europe for 6 weeks, so I will literally be home alone--just me and the dog.

    Fortunately, I have a very demanding job. But I agree about the dog. H may just return home to TWO dogs.
  • MelsmomMelsmom Registered User Posts: 1,040 Member
    I received information yesterday about fostering. The dog isn't going to do the trick. Anybody know much about it? I just realized consciously that I must be going thru pre-empty nest. My youngest is a HS Sr, & I really don't feel done yet! Hubby & I will talk about it, he's always one for not rocking the boat and staying with the status quo, so we will need to hash it out.
  • TXArtemisTXArtemis Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    I can't wait for the empty nest (oh, I know it will hurt) because I'm chompin' at the bit to go to college, too! Think of all those fascinating classes we missed because they didn't exist back in the dino era, or we were headed down what we thought was the right path at the time?

    I'm lucky enough to live in a college town. But I might also do an online course or two. The offerings are amazing, and from Harvard to Berkeley and every campus in between, you can choose interesting topics across all disciplines.

    If you're curious, just go to your own child's chosen college's website and look for Distance Education or Extension School or similar.

    No admissions stress...no SATs! No ECs! But alas, no FA, either.

    Thanks to all who have shared their ideas. This is a keeper thread--I'm bookmarking it for use in Spring 2011!
  • astrophysicsmomastrophysicsmom Registered User Posts: 4,326 Senior Member
    I just know that I've got to get a lot more on my plate when D2 leaves in August, or I'll not be doing well. I've realized how much of my life involves thinking about when D will get home from school, or how much time she'll be home before she has to leave for an evening activity.....not because I have to keep an eye on her, but because I do enjoy her company. I did learn with D1 that knowing she was happy at school made it a lot easier. H and I have been home together since his retirement in 2005; we probably could stand to get some more activities during the days away from each other!!! No more pets, though. ;)
  • IamsoconfusedIamsoconfused Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    I will be doing pro bono college couseling in charter schools. I already work with a couple of them and can't think of a better thing to do after all that I have learned this year. This is workable with my work schedule and will prevent my from trying to get my daughter home every second of the day. I will miss her horribly however!
  • avoidingworkavoidingwork Registered User Posts: 786 Member
    For S2's last year in HS, I was very aware of my impending EN status and made an effort to enjoy every last bit of *his* last year in HS. The highlight was going to Mexico to build houses - something he had done all four years of HS. I do recall threatening to go to 'back to school' night even if I no longer had children at the school. At the HS graduation, they have one of the teachers speak and the speech included an image of a bird flying off. I heard it as my opportunity to fly off and experience new things and a new part of my life.

    Work has kept me busy (I'm really not very good at avoiding it). I continue my involvement in one of our community organizations. This is now my 2nd year of EN and have undertaken a major home remodel. It is exciting to be creating my home to fit me.

    My sons are still my 'pride and joy'. I am awed at every step of their lives and feel so incredibly blessed that I am their mother.
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    Melsmom, We've thought about foster care as well. It's come to our attention that not only are there a lot of teens in foster care, some of them are there because their families kicked them out after they found out their child was gay. That really tugged at our hearts. We'll see...it takes a brave, strong person to do it and I'm not that person yet.

    My son is a Junior and the empty nest issue is weighing heavily on my mind. He is my only child. In my rational mind and heart I cannot wait to see who he becomes as an adult and I want college to be a wonderful experience for him. In my secret heart, I'm afraid of facing the void of not having a child in my life on a daily basis. I'm not ready to be done with hands on mothering, which is the best job I've ever had. But I have to get ready.
  • OperaDadOperaDad Registered User Posts: 2,476 Senior Member
    After almost 30 years of wrapping my life around them, I'm not quite sure what to do with this new role.

    Get a full time job so you can:

    1) Pay off all the kid's student loans
    2) Pay for the annual vacation cruise you could never do when the kids were in school
    3) Save up for the kid's weddings and grand kids that will be just around the corner
  • ingerpingerp Registered User Posts: 866 Member
    I am oh-so-delighted that this is still several years away, but I met another parent recently who said his wife "wanted to have a talk" when they're youngest left for college. They now have. . . um. . . sheep. Plus several herding dogs. Couldn't be happier. (In fact his wife wasn't with him because they had a sheep in labor. I told him I'd never heard that excuse before.)
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    ingerp, I love it!
  • TNMom2ThreeTNMom2Three Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    I'm sad but relieved to know that I'm not the only one going through this. When I opened this post last night, I was in a sentimental mood because my son had just been away on a school trip for a few days, and it was a little taste of things to come. While my DH and I have a happy marriage, he works in the maritime industry that involves a month offshore, which in August will make my nest VERY empty. (Yes, we have security like Ft Knox). My two oldest live closeby but are very content with their married lives and my DD works fulltime so the time with her child is so precious to her that she isn't one that depends on me much for childcare. However, the bright side..a new grandbaby is due the same week of graduation. My personal belief that God has perfect timing to distract me. :)

    I do work fulltime, Operadad, but cookieeater, repopulating is out of the question and even though my DH says a dog may be the answer, I think that's not for me. Since my oldest (from previous marriage) was one when DH and I married, this will be a new phase for us. Kind of like newlyweds, but without the "new". I have mixed emotions of how life will be without school schedules, and wondering who will take care of the kids, whether they've done homework, meeting their project deadlines, or someone elses laundry to do. And yet, I will miss hearing daily tales of what went on today, the endless explanations of what he learned in school, or even the simple thing of my signature being needed. Needed...I guess that's where I will feel that pain.

    But don't get me wrong, I am happy for my children. They've ventured down different paths and so far they are all happy. This last one, though...he was a surprise when I found out he was coming, and he's been my little ray of sunshine. A happy kid, with wit and charm...and to have him hours away will hurt a lot.

    My oldest used to be so mad at me when I wouldn't let her do everything her friends did, and her phrase was "you make me live in a BOX". When she had her first baby, she called and said..."Mom, I understand now...it was all about wanting to protect me, because I feel the same way." I guess at the end of the day, for moms it does come down to wanting the best for your child, and cheering as they take off, but hoping they'll remember the way back home.

    (If anyone is interested in a good emptynest song, this one fits the bill. )

    YouTube - Find Your Wings - Mark Harris
  • belabela Registered User Posts: 260 Junior Member
    When my daughter first left (she's my last), I was so lonely for her but it abated surprisingly quickly. Looking back, the year leading up to her departure was much worse, it's the anticipation that gets you. Now, we're really enjoying our autonomy, and housekeeping is much much easier, especially not having to shop for food constantly. However, I still have that empty spot in my heart, which feels like a real thing, not a metaphor, but it doesn't really ache anymore (only when she comes home and leaves again). But, I do really enjoy my alone times. Especially since I still get nice long chatty phone calls daily. Now that it isn't about the dailiness of caretaking, I am really enjoying the loving feelings.
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    bela, Thank you for sharing that.

    A friend recently send me a song that should have come with a "have a hankie ready!" alert. For my son's graduation next year, I'm going to put pictures to this song. If I can get through it! I can't print all the lyrics as it's long but I'll put up the first and last two stanzas. There is a you tube video as well if you want to hear it.

    The One Who Knows (from Dar Williams' "The Beauty of the Rain")

    Time it was I had a dream
    You're the dream come true
    If I had the world to give
    I'd give it all to you

    I'll take you to the mountains
    I will take you to the sea
    I'll show you how this life became
    A miracle to me...

    ...But sometimes I will ask the moon
    Where it shined upon you last
    And shake my head and laugh and say
    It all went by so fast

    You'll fly away
    But take my hand until that day
    So when they ask how far love goes
    When my job's done
    You'll be the one who knows
  • DejaDeja Registered User Posts: 551 Member
    It reminds me of a book I bought when my second son graduated called "Let Me Hold You Longer"...it tells about a mom always marking and remembering the FIRST time our children did this or that...but not really recognizing the LAST time they do something....

    Here's that book:

  • 2collegewego2collegewego Registered User Posts: 2,710 Senior Member
    Oh my goodness! I am sitting here in tears and my youngest is still upstairs. I'm not sure I can do this-- allergic to dogs, can't afford grad courses for myself (oh, how I wish!) and I'm in a dying employment industry. I've honestly thought of just selling the house, buying something smaller and starting over. I know the kids want me to keep the house so they can just 'drop by' but upkeep is too expensive and this house is filled with their ghosts.
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