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.

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