Friday, 26 August 2016

REDEFINING THE EMPTY NEST

 Once the nest is empty it's time to redefine your idea of family

REFILLING THE EMPTY NEST

The empty nest is often spoken about as a sad and lonely time. The kids leave and take all the life and interest and excitement with them. There's no-one left who needs looking after, nobody coming and going, no strangers wandering through the house, nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary any more. It can all be so silent and sedate and fairly boring if you let it.

The other side of the empty nest is watching it fill up and empty again on a regular basis. For us, living in the country while our kids live in the city, it means we get visits every couple of months from one set or the other. They come down, move in (bringing their cats with them!) and settle back into family life for a few days. For others who live near their adult kids, it means weekend get togethers or weekly dinners where the house fills up again with laughter and memories.

NEST VISITORS

We find the empty nest has been re-defined for our family. We have weeks at a stretch when there's just the two of us puddling around in the peace and quiet. We have our little routines, we go to work, we go out, we meet with friends, we come home to the quiet, we sleep without worrying about someone not being home at the expected time (I don't miss listening for a car to pull in, or hearing police sirens and worrying.)

The peace and quiet could get a bit monotonous, but every so often we have things shaken up for us. Last year my mum had her knee replaced and moved in with us for six weeks. It was like having a child around again - we fed her, talked to her, entertained her, listened to her complaints, made her do her exercises, and generally parented her until she was fit enough to to home again. We've also had friends stay occasionally when they've been down in the country and needed a bed for a night or two - things are certainly a lot more lively when that happens!


leave them alone and they'll come home.... wagging their tails behind them

BO PEEP'S SHEEP

The best part of the empty nest is when the "children" come home for a visit. Because we're a distance away, it means they stay at least one night with us and we get to spend a chunk of quality time with them. They slip right back into being kids again - they're happy for someone else to cook for them, or take them out for coffee, or tidy up after them while they relax and enjoy home comforts without the chores. We love it when they're here - it's all the best parts of parenting without the responsibilities we used to have.

Our son and daughter-in-law are due to come down in a few weeks and they're bringing our little granddaughter down for the first time. This redefines the empty nest in a new and exciting way. We bought a highchair, we have baby toys, there'll be a cot and change table and all sorts of baby paraphernalia that our home hasn't seen for many, many years. It's the beginning of a whole new experience for our family. 

COMING AND GOING

When you let your kids go without a struggle, they are happy to return for visits. They see themselves as separate entities who are free to come and go without any angst on their parents' behalf. It's a joy to see them come home and be settled in so quickly and easily, and for their spouses to feel part of the family too. It's lovely to have them and it's lovely to say goodbye and have peace descend again. Our empty nest isn't the cobwebbed pile of sticks you see in pictures, it is green and flourishing and feathered and ready at any time for whatever comes along. How fantastic is that?!

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Once the nest is empty it's time to redefine your idea of family

36 comments:

  1. One of my co workers (a single Mom) saw her daughter off to college this past weekend. Their last couple of years were so stormy and now she is so teary eyed. I hope she finds this series of blog posts. Well done, said by someone else with an empty nest. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope she does too Alana - she might enjoy the one before this where I mention how surly our son was before he left home - he was ready to leave at least a year before it happened! I think it's their way of weaning us off them!

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  2. I love reading your thoughts on the empty nest and how positive you are. Many regard this time of life as sad but you can have the best of all worlds. Time with the children, time with the grandchildren. Time with your partner and Now Time for You!

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    1. I couldn't agree more Sue - who would swap this time of life for the sleepless nappy changing days of 25 years ago? I love the freedom and the autonomy that I've earnt and deserve :)

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  3. Enjoy your granddaughter!!! :-)

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    1. Thanks Paula - I can't wait to see her again - distance certainly makes the heart grow fonder!

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  4. Oh my gosh.... I love my Mum to bits, but if she moved in for six weeks I'm not sure how I'd cope! I'm all for peace and quiet (sprinkled with a new grand-daughter!).

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    1. My mum is talking about getting the other knee done Linda - I'm twitching at the thought of another 6 weeks of her company.....grandbabies are much more fun!

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  5. I always thought something was terribly wrong with me a I didn't sob or get crazy when my kids went to college. I talk to them almost every day. They have grown to be amazing women. I think my husband and I did great job raising them and now we are rediscovering why we became a couple in the first place. I love when my daughters come home and they do too. Yes, I always wish for more time. But, I don't know, we are all healthy and happy and that's all one can ask!

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    1. I feel exactly the same way Cathy - I was happy for mine to go off and live their own lives. I was confident that they could manage well for themselves and they proved me right. I love their visits and would like them to be more frequent but all in all it's a lovely stage of life.

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  6. Sounds like you have the best of all worlds. You have the kids visit here and there, but also your quiet and privacy. You also deserve the medal of bravery for your Mom there for six weeks. I love mine dearly but that's a lot of togetherness!

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    1. It was a LOT of togetherness with mum Laurie and it was very nice to see her head home to her own world - she was noisier than the children were!

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  7. My first granddaughter left for her university yesterday and her little sister is starting first grade. My husband and I just put away our crib and high chair. We cried. It's like empty nest on steroids going through it again:)

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    1. That's a whole new dimension Doreen - I hadn't thought of grandbaby empty nesting - I'll make sure I enjoy the time I have with them before they fly off on their own too :)

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  8. I, too, am finding the empty nest a very positive time. I enjoy it when my kids come home, but also enjoy the quit again when they leave. It is fun to have them home as adults. Good luck with the grandchild! It is very exciting and a happy time for you.

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    1. Thanks so much - and yes, as much as I say I'd love to have them visiting all the time, the peace and quiet is very pleasant - and only managing my life around one other person is very easy!

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  9. Our nest has been empty for six years now. Although I love when the kids come home to visit for a while, it always seems right for them to go.

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    1. Mine too Lois - visits are wonderful, but the thought of them boomeranging back home for a long stay is a bit daunting!

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  10. I'm so excited for you to have your granddaughter fill up your empty nest for a bit. Enjoy! Can't wait to hear about it.

    Yes, it's a redefined nest when they leave, but after the initial shock and awe and coming to terms, I really kinda like it. Visits are great, the quiet once they leave golden.

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    1. As I sit here typing with my husband on his laptop nearby I am savouring the peace - but on the other hand really looking forward to those few days of hubbub when the house fills up again for a short time. There'll definitely be a mention somewhere of how that first grandbaby visit went Lisa :)

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  11. So true - love it when mine come home! Especially when the grandkids are here! We have rooms for both - toys, crib, high chair - the works. Expecting grand baby #3 in February!

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    1. How exciting! I'm only on grandbaby #1 and it will be a while before any more appear. I think our baby paraphernalia will increase as time goes by :)

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  12. Congratulations! A grandma! My two both got married last year, and I'm sure that babies are on the horizon.

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    1. It's the next step in the empty nest Tam - interesting that yours got married fairly closely time-wise - mine married within 14 months of each other - but my daughter is resisting the maternal urge atm.

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  13. I love your attitude and can tell it has resulted in great relationships with your kids. Kudos!
    Estelle

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    1. Thanks so much Estelle - they are pretty fabulous people and we're lucky they like having us in their lives still!

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  14. I hate to even comment on this topic, since I have no kids. But I do think that many parents keep their kids dependent, at least in my world i see this. They can't let go and even have an empty nest to refill with grandbabies! Lucky you!
    Carol
    www.carolcassara.com

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    1. If you let them go without a fight, they feel safe coming home again Carol - if it's always a struggle then they avoid you like the plague.

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  15. The kids go and they come back and eventually they come back with grandbabies for us :)

    Visiting you from Blogger’s Pit Stop #38

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    1. That sums it up perfectly! Nothing like a grandbaby to make the visit that much sweeter :)

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  16. I have a decade or more until my nest might be empty, but I plan to approach it like you, happy whenn he comes to visit and no guilt in between. I want him to want to be with us and not do it just so we stop bugging him. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFrivolity

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    1. That's what it's all about Audrey - making the leaving happy so they want to come back again.

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  17. Hey Leanne, we are going to feature this post on Friday. Thanks for all the good reads you have been giving us on The Blogger's Pit Stop.

    Kathleen
    Bloggers Pit Stop

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    1. What a lovely honour - the Pit Stop is a great linky Kathleen and thanks for featuring me again x

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  18. We are also on the redefinition of empty nests. Our children though don't want to come home, it's too small for them and doesn't quite suit their needs. So we do the reverse. We go and visit with them in their big homes and let them cook and clean and take care of us. Then we get to spend time with our grandchildren without having to child proof our home again. Alls well that ends well and we're still a family. We're just a little more spread out!

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    1. I think you have the best of both worlds! I might move to a smaller house and see if it works for us too! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

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