Due to strong support and request in emails, I am putting my post back in. Those with no life can deal with it.
The empty Nest has begun. Ashley went to the hotel last night and today she left for Air Force basic training. She called me at 2:30 and said her bus was leaving at 4. She said she was nervous and had butterflies. I know she will do well, but this house sure is empty now. Then she called at 8 from a cell phone that someone on the bus let her use. She was just going through the gates at Lackland. She said she was fine, nervous and told me she loved me! I know she will do well.
Remember those days when the kids were little? When they were fighting over what channel to watch, whose turn it was in monopoly, whose turn it was to sit in the front seat and who had more kool-aid in their glass than the other one? Remember those referee years, family vacations in the car with war threatening to erupt in the back seat? And you counted it out in your head just how many years you had left before they would be grown up and out of the house and you could take that trip to Europe, study Yoga, have quiet car rides and live in peace?
Remember when you would go check on one at night and they were not in bed and you found them in their big brother's bed because they were scared? And you watched them sleeping and thought they looked like angels and that it would always be like this?
Well, how the heck does it happen then, that suddenly they are all gone and you find yourself with an "empty nest" and suddenly it's lost its appeal?
When did they go from 3 to 18 and was I in a coma or what? Sure, you remember all those games and parades and concerts and homework and teachers meetings and friends in and out of the house, but that just lasted a year......didn't it?
So you look in the mirror and suddenly realize that you really are middle aged, your kids are grown, your life has changed in such a drastic way. Just as drastically as it did the first day that you brought your first baby home from the hospital.
It's scary, that's what it is.
My children are now 18 and 20 years old. I am still not used to that! That is supposed to be the age that I am! I was a lucky mom. My kids love me and they know I love them. Boy are they secure in that. But I was, am, the "worrying" kind of mom.
Here is an example. My son lives in a different country so I rely heavily on phone calls and email. As soon as 1 week goes by and I haven't heard from him, I begin to worry. I know it's silly.
He tells me how work is, about the baseball team he plays on, people on scavenger hunts as he is looking out his window , then says "Well... I am getting ready to go to bed (he is 7 hours ahead of us). I Love you mom, bye!" and he is gone. And that's ok. We don't have to have LONG conversations. Just hearing his voice and knowing he is ok sets my worry meter back to its normal level of "on the edge" but at least not "off the charts."
My kids know I worry too much about them and they know it's because I love them so much and want them safe and happy. And most of the time they appreciate it and respect it. Sometimes they don't like it at all though, and who can blame them? I have, however, stopped hovering. Kind of.
You know the old saying "Kids don't come with an instruction manual?" and "I made all my mistakes on the first kid" ? Well, they are true. I even made mistakes on the second kid, but I did try to learn from my mistakes.
I have asked some friends - how did you handle empty nest in the beginning? They all say one of two things. Either " I had no problem! I love this freedom!" or they say "It was hard........really, really hard."
First I'd like to say how wonderful that both of your kids have chosen to serve our country.
I can't offer any empty nest advice but just wanted to let you know I'll be in your shoes soon and will watch the replies to this thread with interest.
Hayley is in her 2nd year at UNF in Jax and is able to come home on weekends so it's nowhere near your situation but still I miss having her around all the time.
Jimmy is in junior year of high school but each day brings catalogs from colleges and he's also going to audition for a drum and bugle corp. that tours around the country all summer so we may not have him around all summer.....sigh....I know this will all be here before I know it.
Hang in there,
When my Sarah "went off" to college, she decided to live at home and go to Arizona State University. Those 4 years really helped ease the transition into the empty nest because she was still living here, but was hardly home, what with classes, study groups, a job, the marching band and her social life. So by the time she graduated and actually moved out, it was only another degree of separation, and even then, she still lived here in the Phoenix area. But when she moved to California 3-1/2 years ago, the separation seemed much more real. But I deal with it by staying in touch by phone, by email and by visiting back and forth as often as we can.
I wish you peace of mind and a sense of contentment in knowing that you have raised capable, independent people. <<<HUGS>>>
Carole, I could feel your pain in that post. I have had to let one of my babies go and it wasn't easy. I am fortunate enough to have one still at home, and I just went in and gave him a kiss goodnight, just because I can. I remember the early years, and I did it all as a single mom, and it sure wasn't easy, but it was worth it!
I can offer you only one suggestion - book a cruise!
I hear you loud and clear, CArole and know my time is coming. AFter this year I have 3 more years and he's gone off to college....
I can tell you from watching my big sister when her baby birds flew away that she took solace from her husband. They actually kind of re-discovered each other and that helped lots....
My heart is with you!
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First of all, may Ashley have God's blessing and protection.
Empty nest. I've been there.
Gram and I took the first vaction we had EVER taken without our children
literally 24 hours after dropping Andrea (#3) at college. It was short, simple and not too far away, but after over 22 years it was well deserved.
A couple of days after we came home Gram called from work to make arrangements to meet me at a store after work. We both realized at just about the same moment there was no one we had to call to say "we're not coming home for dinner".
We are lucky enough that all three live within very reasonable driving distances. That of cousre now puts the 5 grandchildren nearby as well. No more than 65 miles to any of them.
Andrea came home for a few years after graduating from Law School. She's been out again for about 3 years now. I do miss some one to help shovel snow.
The kids were all at the house Sunday and they had a bit of a shock. We have finally, after 38 years, invested in all new furniture. The house as they knew it is "gone". No more bedrooms that look like they still live with us, no more piano they all took lessons on. There are still toys, changing tables, high chairs and such, but , not theirs (their childrens).
The house is still a family gathering place, as it was Sunday, but it has changed.
It is still best however, when they and their children are all there. My nest may be empty, but it is still there and still big enough for all to come back (and always will ).
Carole: It does get easier as time goes on...I promise. When Jackie went off to college, I cried and cried. And then the first time she came home, I cried when she went back. Those 4 years flew by and now she is 28 and moving 3 hours away. My son lives right next door to me, but I do not see him all that often. We do talk on the phone almost every day. The way I got through it was by having Gary there. We started doing more and more "fun things" like cruising more. You actually do adjust and get used to the empty nest.
Mary Lou Scanlon
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From one empty nester to another. It will get better with time. Take some good advise and enjoy some time with you and Johnny while you can. The empty nest will not last for ever. Like Rd said..Book a cruise asap. Good luck Carole and try not to let this stress you too bad Keep the pistons oiled in the Nova. 8)
Carole, You and John have my support and admiration that you have raised such great kids that they have chosen to serve their country. No greater gift can one give than his/her service to their fellow man. I for one are damn proud of you and your family.
I saw your post last night, but didn't have time to respond. I come back today and it's gone. I too feel your pain, and although I dream of everyone being gone, it still makes me sad. I am lucky that my husband and I are best friends, so hopefully it won't be as bad. I just try not to think about it. I know all about the hate e-mail. I have stopped saying what my husband does, so that I don't get anymore. Hang in there.
I haven't posted in a couple of years, but I had to post when I saw my little twin sister had left for the Air Force.
We're in this together, Carole!
Can you believe it...son #2, Joey, left for Navy basic training on Oct. 4, and reported to Great Lakes on Oct. 5!!!! We have 9 1/2 weeks before we get to see him at graduation, because he just missed the prior groups Training Group by a couple of hours, so now he gets to send an extra 6 days inprocessing.
Last year we had our older kids in basic, and now the younger ones. I still have my youngest at home though, so at least I still have one to keep me busy.
To keep this cruise oriented...both of my sons LOVE the ocean, and they love being on the water, so the Navy was their first choice. My oldest is serving on a destroyer out of Norfolk, so at least we're lucky and he comes home once and month when he isn't dploeyed. Thei Air Force dad would have loved to had at least one follow in his shoes, but the ocean called to them harder!!
Take Care of yourself Carole, and e-mail me if you need some extra support...I know I'll be e-mailing you!!!! Please send me Ashley's address so I can mail her along with Joey.
(((((hugs))))) Carole! How time flies. It sounds to me like you've raised some wonderful kids. It must be hard to have to let them go - I don't have kids yet so I can't pretend to walk in your shoes, but I'd like to let you know you have my support. God bless them as they fly out into the world, and God bless you as you go through this tough time.
Carole: I don't understand what happened when you originally posted this. You must be so proud of your kids. You obviously did a wonderful job raising them and your nest will never be truly empty.
My son got married last June, and my daughter moved back home in Dec. so we only had a few months of empty nest. But, now she is moving permanently and will be about 2 hours away.
We try to get together once a week for family dinner at our house and that helps a lot. We catch up on each other's lives, and just enjoy spending time together. Fortunately they like my cooking so it's not hard to convince them to come! It will be difficult now with my daughter farther away, but we will try to still get together as much as possible. We email and talk on the phone as much as possible. When my daughter was away at university we talked on MSN Messenger to avoid long distance charges and we left it on all the time so we could send each other messages even when we weren't home. It really helped to feel connected to each other. I could send her a message any time I wanted to tell her something. I know this won't be possible for you when your kids are away, but maybe later on this will work for you.
Sending pictures by email is also a great way of staying in touch. I send pics and an "update from the home front" message about once a week. We live in a very small town so I tell them things going on with old friends, etc. I think they really appreciate being kept up to date on stuff at home & feel like they're part of our small town still.
The most important thing I've found is that my husband & I have to remember we were best friends and had a life together before our lives became focussed on the kids. It might be hard to get back to things you want to do together, but I think it's really important. For us cruising has filled a huge gap in our lives. We hadn't taken a vacation in 12 years before our first cruise last year, and now are looking forward to our 4th next Sept.
My favourite saying about being a parent is "There are two lasting gifts we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings." This has been hanging on my bedroom wall for 25 years, and I think it says it all. If they have loving parents and a home they love they will always come back and your nest will never be truly empty. They will be part of your life and your home no matter how far away they are.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Carole - I loved your post - it was very well stated.
We are empty nesters as well - apart from several paws, claws and talons that is.
I raised my two - empty nest number one - then married a man with two more to raise. The eldest moved out on his own and we lost our daughter shortly after to Muscular Dystrophy.
The house was really empty - and I was a stay at home Mom without a "job" as well. So I applied to become a "Big Sister" and I am having a ball. My "little" is great - not easy because there are no "easy" kids in the program. But she does help me focus on someone besides me. I mentor in school as well so I have another "little" to play with for an hour every week.
It has been said on here several times - but it does bear repeating. You must be very proud of your kids and yourself as well - for raising them right! And just think - one day there will be grandchildren to put fingerprints on your table tops and spill juice in the VCR - and the nest will be full again.