Monday, July 16, 2012

Empty Nest

I suppose no one really knows how the “empty nest” stage of their life is going to affect them until it actually happens to them.

I imagined how I thought I would feel when my nest was vacated, but I think I was only about half right.

My empty nest probably isn’t that different than a lot of people these days, in that, not only did my last child finally move out, but the little person that we had been helping to raise for the last 4 years, since her birth, moved out with her.

You would think that it might be a relief to not have to clean up after another child, when you thought that you were done with your own, but for me anyway, that would be a wrong assumption.

 Oh sure, I do like the fact that my house stays cleaner for much longer periods, but that is greatly minimized by the fact that I also don’t have that adorable, smart little girl begging me to play, read and laugh with her on a daily basis.

I am sure that my own two kids begged me for those things too, but when you are the mom, so many things seem so much more important at that time, and you really have no idea how fast that time is going until one day they quit asking for your attention, turning to their friends attention instead.

It’s much different when you are the grandparent. You know immediately how fast that time goes, and you promise yourself that you will not take it for granted this time.

I was a child of the 60s and only saw my two grandmothers about 2 times a year when they would visit from Wisconsin. Not much of a relationship in my opinion.

I swore that I would be the kind of grandparent that was an active part of my grandchildren’s lives, having a close relationship with each of them.

 Now, I didn’t realize that I would actually have one live with me from birth, until her 4th birthday, but to me, that just turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

 I developed such a close relationship with her, that it felt more like being her second mother. So, when my daughter announced on a Monday, that she had probably found an apartment, and moved into it on that Thursday, I didn’t really have much time to absorb the impact of the change this would have on my life.

I threw myself into getting her and my granddaughter set up and settled into their own new little nest.

Then, I took a week to transform my daughter’s old room into a quiet, sunny, day room.

For quite a while, I had envisioned what that room would look like once she moved out, so I was actually looking forward to that part of “empty nesting”.

 The room transformation project took much longer than I had expected, and even stalled, while I waited for pieces of furniture to be completed and delivered, but it finally got completed to my satisfaction, and keeping busy with it kept my mind off of how quiet my house had suddenly become.

 Shortly after they moved out, I stayed on my schedule of keeping my granddaughter at least once a week, so that I could continue my relationship with her. I knew that the move was hard on her, as she had only known our house as her home, and now, she was getting used to a much smaller place with just her mom and her cat.

Once she got more used to her new space, I then transitioned to keeping her overnight every other week.

The week that the “empty nest” hit me hard, and caught me completely off guard, was the week that I didn’t get to see my granddaughter at all, as she was spending time with her dad and his out of town visiting cousins.

I missed her, but I knew that this was good for her to get to know more relatives, so I looked forward to the next week, when I could have her stay with me again.

It’s now been a couple of years since my nest was vacated, and I can honestly say, that I am doing  very well and even enjoying some of the alone time that I got very so very little of for  many years. I have another new beautiful granddaughter and a grandson on the way, so I am not worried at all about having the nest ever get too quiet for very long as I expect to continue having close relationships with all of my sweet babies!

Everything is just as it should be.

 Everyone is doing well in each of their own nests, and as any close flock should do, gathers regularly at my nest.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Priorities, Privileges and Entitlement

I think that there seems to be some confusion on the definition of the above three words with some of today’s younger generation.

It seems many feel that by just being alive gives them certain privileges, and that they are entitled to just about anything that they want, and, whatever they do want, they want it now.

They do not want to have to wait for anything that they want, or even really work for it, just get it now, and worry about how they got it later.

Maybe not worry about it at all.

 In this instant society, many have not really had to wait for even a letter in the mail, so they do not completely understand the meaning of having to wait for something.  They just text or email, and instantly they have a response. Add into this factor that many parents give in to this belief, (not teaching their children that all is not always so easy and instant,) and the result is a lot of spoiled, weak, young adults, who believe that privileges, and some material items, should be just as instantly and easily obtained as the instant messaging features on their phones.

 If they do not have the financial means to get what they want, they complain about that same society making it too hard for them to achieve the American dream.

Personally, I am not sure if they really want the American dream and all that goes along with it, as that means being responsible, paying your bills, and working for what you want.

I have seen too many examples of young and some older adults that don’t seem to have enough money to feed their kids the basic food items, but look in their pockets, and you will almost always find the most expensive cell phone, with very expensive monthly bills to go with them.

Look in their cars, and you will find very expensive sound systems.

This is where Priorities come into play. There are some very mixed up priorities out there. This group of people seems to find the money for the fun stuff, but not enough for the responsible stuff. So, what do they do? As mentioned above, they complain about how hard it is to make it, but are completely okay with taking whatever government assistance they can get.

If they don’t have jobs, they complain about how hard it is to find a job, any job. While that may be true for some, it is not true for all.

What they are really saying is that they want the perfect job, one that fits into their schedule, one that feels good. Entry level jobs seem to be too demeaning for this group of individuals. That one blows me away time and time again. What they are really saying here is that bagging groceries, or flipping burgers, is much worse than being unemployed, beneath them, if you will. To that, I say…

Get over it! It is called a job because it is work!

This is not the playground, this is how you make ends meet, pay your bills, take care of your responsibilities, and quit relying on your parents, grandparents, friends, and the government. Grow up and take ownership of your life and your responsibilities!

Next argument from this group… “I don’t have a car or a way to get to a job, or, I can’t afford to drive because gas prices are so high.”

Again, more excuses. In most cities, there is something called public transportation. It doesn’t cost much, but you do have to work with their schedule. The bus isn’t going to wait for you when you are ready, and/ or most times, does not come to your front door.

I do understand that there are places that you cannot get the bus, so you need to have a car. There are some less expensive cars out there if you take the time and look. They aren’t new, and most times are not the most beautiful, but if you are not living in the castle on the hill, then you don’t need a Rolls Royce to drive and no, you are not entitled to have the most expensive car if you can’t afford it!

Just get something to get you back and forth to work and keep in mind that these cars are generally on their last leg, so use them sparingly so that they last long enough for you to upgrade once you make enough money to do that.

You can also look into car-pooling with someone at your job.

You are not owed anything, you do need to work for what you get, and most of us will pay our dues by starting at entry level jobs and working our way up. Make your bills accordingly, and take care of your responsibilities. Quit making excuses, and quit relying on others to bail you out!

Privileges are earned, Priorities need to be put in the correct, responsible order, and no one is entitled to anything that they have not worked for.