Confessing to empty-nest

<p>I told my son that if he went to USC, he would only be able to come home for the summer and no holidays. He went anyway and now I am eating my words. I have the worst case of empty-nest syndrome. Anybody got a cure?

<p>Do stuff. </p>

<p>Try out that new restaurant that just opened across town; go to see all the movies that look interesting; learn to play bridge; write poetry; call up a friend that you really like but haven't talked to in a long time. Call up your spouse and suggest a little adult recreation in the middle of the day.</p>

<p>Make a list of all the things you used to do for fun before you had children and do all of them (that are still possible physically) ):</p>

<p>And call the kid. Don't worry about bothering him. Oh and learn how to IM. Get on his buddy list. He may grumble, but our kids still need to know that we love them.</p>

<p>Well, empty nest is bad at first. I've been through it twice and #3 is in high school. I still miss the clammer around the house, but have gotten used to having one student in the house now. </p>

<p>Most schools have a month off for the holidays. Personally, I think the first year away is the hardest for the parent (and perhaps to a lesser degree the student). I think it is really important for you to eat your words this time and bring him home for the holidays. If you go on line and get him a ticket on Southwest Airlines NOW, before the holiday ticket rush, it will not cost you very much. No matter where he is in the continental US you should be able to get him home for under $325 if you act fast. They are having a special for anywhere they fly from $39-$149 one way.</p>

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<p>The fact that he chose USC over your apparent objections is history now. Since you have accepted his choice try to figure out a way to get him home.
Eat you words, you'll be glad you did.</p>

<p>Don't know if this will help you, but when my S went off to college, I felt bereft and couldn't really figure out what would be fulfilling to do. I decided to address aspects of my life that had been neglected while raising kids, wrote them down so they would take shape in my mind and went from there. I wrote that I missed expressing myself, so I began writing more and fired off a couple of editorials to the newspaper. I missed being being involved in my community, so I looked for a way to put my time/skills to use and helped found an afterschool program for teens at risk (lotsa work and dealing with the city). I tutored and taught some drama classes there. I missed being athletic and ended up receiving a rescued horse, which keeps me in shape and gives me something to fuss over. I missed being domestic, since I was always running around with the kids and simply whipping up quick kid food, and decided to try to learn to cook real food. (Dismal failure, but hey, it was fun trying). Anyway, it might help to break down the aspects of yourself you'd like to be reacquainted with and use these as springboards to figure out what's next for you. Good luck.</p>

I miss the face and the noise and the friends always here. I couldn't bring son home for less than $1250.00, so I'm going there for T-day, as well as parent's day. Also did a course in his area, so saw him for a few hours. (I tried getting tickets in Sept)
I wish I could be like momstheword and be altruistic, but I'm trying to get S's bedroom and bathroom rebuilt before he comes home. Lots of hurricane damage and handymen who show up are adored. If I wasn't so busy, I'd probably combat my empty nest pain with quick trips to see friends in other cities, house projects that are fun, lots of exercise, e g Salsa class, bellydancing, etc. Oh, and the books! the beach!
It would be much easier if he called or e-mailed more, and I sensed friendships starting and adjustment going well.</p>

<p>My parents put up all kinds of obstacles hoping I wouldn't go to the university which accepted me off the waitlist--in August. Including; 1. Find your own ride, 2. We're not buying you anything.</p>

<p>I went anyway and had the time of my life. My mom rushed to visit me in October. She discovered she's one of those people who HAS to have a visual of her children's location. (I'm the oldest of many).</p>

<p>So, my advice is: don't eat your words. Eat crow instead!! Admit temporary parental insanity and find some cheap way to get him home for Christmas.</p>

<p>Definitely learn to IM. Even if you can catch them for only 3 minutes a day for a few questions or comments (or every other day), it's almost as if they were still at home.</p>

<p>Also, I cut out little things from the paper and send them to my D. . .a cute comic, a short article about the high school, etc. She won't read a long article, but she'll look at something short. It takes the place of having her at home and saying, "Did you see this in the paper?" And college kids like to get mail!</p>

<p>I thought I would have an empty nest but he's been here for midterm break in October, so it isn't so bad. We saw him for only 3 days out of the 8 he was here but no matter....</p>

<p>Maybe this is a call for all of us Jr and Sr parents to start our lists now...of things that we would like to do, but can't or shouldn't. That way, we'll have a reference next year. Though, I have a 6 yr old who is sure to keep me plenty busy next year. But, if I didnt, I would......</p>

<p>Attend more community meetings in my city
Take class or two - whatever interests me at the moment
Join a book club
go to NY to see more shows
travel more
SAIL!!! - both of my kids get bored on sailboats after 30 minutes
get my cruising certificate from Annapolis
get to the GYM more (see how far down on the list this one is?)
paint the inside of my home with interesting, deep, warm colors (sick to death of white)</p>

<p>I say just makes plans to see him. Either bring him home or go see him (I'm assuming this is feasible time and money wise). So you made a mistake in taking a hard line. Admitting that you made a mistake and letting him know that he's important enough to see more than once a year sends a positive message. Sometimes it's a good lesson for our kids to see that when we do something wrong we admit it and correct it.</p>

<p>Ouch Sarah. I have to agree with the others and say visit and see what the cheapest fare home for the holidays is, and then buy tickets. will work as well.</p>

<p>My oldest DS is also a freshman, and left earlier in the summer, he had football practice. I get daily and weekly updates from all the other football parents, for homecoming weekend, parents weekend, last home game party, end-of-season banquet...but with 4 kiddos still at home I have missed all of them. He is far (MN, we are in NC) so the first time we see him again will be 12/22 for the holidays and they have a January term so he flies back out on 1/2. I am sad just thinking about the departure date.</p>

<p>BUT have been so excited about him coming back for the holidays. I have even started wrapping presents for him already. We talk to him every other day and sometimes every day, depends if it is game day or not.</p>

<p>By the time you finish reading this post you should have another window open and you should have pushed the BUY TICKETS button!!!!</p>

<p>Kat, still missing my kitten</p>

<p>I always thought IM was dopey until my daughter left home. I agree with the others, learn to use it. Even if you don't "talk" every day, the away messages give a tremendous amount of info.</p>

<p>Let me second (third) the comment about IM. I steadfastly refused to even learn how until my oldest went off to college. I work at the screen most days, and he's there too. Just a few sentences usually, but I feel like I'm "talking" to him more than before he left.</p>

<p>Yep. It's really nice. I'm much more understanding with my younger one now, when he's IM-ing with friends while working. Sometimes (often) they're actually working together...but it's also real social contact, something I hadn't appreciated before.</p>

<p>My daughter is a college sophomore and I had a really tough time last year. This year as well as last year, she left in early Sept. and will be home just before Thanksgiving. She is a real night owl and I don't think she get's on the computer until 9 pm- usually, when I'm reading or watching tv so we don't do the im thing. We talk about once a week when she calls. I wish she would call more more often but I know it bothers me when my Mom will call me up just to chit chat and I'm trying to do something else. I'll take what I can get. Her cell service is very bad on campus and she's often not in her room.</p>

<p>I have two younger sons at home so our nest is still pretty lively. Once they're gone I think I will volunteer at the library, perhaps get involved in local government and maybe take a college class or two. And I agree - get that boy home for Christmas! I think it's important for kids to know that although everyone says things they don't mean but it takes a bigger person to acknowledge that and correct it. I can't imagine Christmas without all my children...</p>

<p>Thank you all for your great ideas and helpful advice. </p>

<p>I have made my list of things to do and it was surprisingly quite long. The first task was to find ‘reasonable airfare’ which I did!</p>

<p>I checked a list of places - if anyone needs let me know. I found a great flight at I had no idea students could get discount air prices. I found a roundtrip flight for less than $299. My son is going to sign up and I am going to have him home for the holidays! I am thrilled. </p>

<p>Thanks again for all your wonderful suggestions and support…this board is going to be a lifesaver for me.

<p>Sarah, so happy for you and your family! Happy holidays...</p>

<p>Empty nest can be a step-by-step progression. Its onset also depends on how many kids you might still have at home. But once the youngest goes off to school, it can really hit you. Even then it may be step-by-step, because you usually see the kids several times a year, sometimes for extended periods such as summers (but then there's the summer that they spend abroad . . . the beginning of the end of the automatic "return home").</p>

<p>The people I know (including myself) who really feel it think it hits them when the kids graduate from college and take their first real job, possibly somewhere far away from you. The kids are making a new life in a new place, and "home" is where they are now living. They may love you but you are an afterthought, not part of their daily, weekly, monthly, or even necessarily seasonal plans.</p>

<p>So you just have to try to adjust, make your own life, look forward to contacts and get-togethers, but don't live only for them. It will happen in good time. (Here I am offering advice but barely getting over this myself!)</p>

<p>I am SO glad you decided to bite the bullet and bring him home for the holidays. How lonely it would have been at school for him and at home for you without him. I have eaten my words several times since my two oldest left. It finally became apparent to me that the parenting of a child/teen is a transitional stage in ones life. You have to let go. Now, I consider myself fairly bright, but for some reason I had trouble realizing that! </p>

<p>Have fun with your 'young man' this Holiday season and don't be surprised at how old he seems. I was surprised and very proud that they were growing up so beautifully on their own. They are a year and a half apart only so it seemed like I was losing both at almost the same time! Every once in a while they will call for a home fix, but overall they are independant. Isn't that the way I wanted them?? Of course it is! :)</p>

<p>we live in LA and son goes to SC and he still never comes home. we miss the heck out of him. on the other hand, we think he is enjoying this new aspect of his life and are reluctant to "suggest" he can visit more often. catch 22. he did call today to say he will be voting and would we mind if he had dinner with us tonight since he did not register absentee and needs to vote in home precinct. hoo-yah!</p>

<p>empty nest = life's evolution = start new chapters or pine forever for good ol days</p>

<p>we feel it though. you sure aren't alone.</p>