Monday, March 16, 2009

Dealing with that ‘Empty Nest’ feeling

Hi! Winnie Griggs, unabashed sentimentalist here. I’ve been feeling a bit wistful the last few days since the last of my four children moved away from home last week. Yet another ‘opportunity’ to adjust to the ever-shifting dynamics of family life.

I have four children, all close together in years if not temperament. My oldest is 27, my middle child is 25 and my ‘babies’, twins, are 23. Yes, at one time I drove a van with four car seats in the back. In fact, for most of the past 23 years the family ‘car’ has been a van, either full size or mini.

My first brush with empty nest syndrome was when the twins went off to college four and a half years ago. For the first time in over two decades we did not have children in the house on a regular basis. I wallowed about for a bit. Then I noticed something. Though they were all scattered - the oldest had headed north, the middle one west and the twins south - they were all within three hours of home. So, lo and behold, most weekends would find at least one of them back home for a visit (translate that to: do laundry and get home cooked meals). And of course there were the long school holidays and summer breaks where we were all back together again. So my hubby and I adjusted to this interim stage of quasi-empty nesterdom. It was sort of the best of both worlds. Time to ourselves when we wanted it but the sure knowledge that we’d see one or more of them in the near future.

Then last spring the three youngest finished up with college. (Middle child took six years instead of four - long story). The twins immediately found jobs in other parts of the state and moved on. Middle child, on the other hand, found a local job but needed time to save some income and find ‘just the right place’ to move to. Which was fine by me. More than fine. “Mother’ is one of my favorites of the many roles I fill.

But then it happened. Middle child found a house and moved in last week. Now hubby and I are rambling around in this big two story home that not too long ago seemed to be bursting at the seams but now seems a bit too quiet. We’ll adjust, of course. And rediscover each other in the process. Which, come to think of it, is a very nice silver lining ...


Janet Tronstad said...

Winnie -- Lovely post. Life shifts and changes for all of us (children or no children). Like you say though there's good and not-so-good to each season. Thanks for sharing.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Winnie, I already dread that! My oldest is a frehman in college, and I've had a pretty rough time adapting. He was just home for a few days for spring break, and I miss him already. But he'll be home for the summer in early May.

And in the meantime, I have two middle schoolers. :)


Pamela Tracy said...

Okay, there are little tears in my eyes. My only is four. I drop him off at pre-school and he's already so independent. I think I'll put a brick on his head so he doesn't grow anymore, at least until tomorrow.

Stephanie Newton said...

Winnie, thanks for the reminder of why I love the times with my children, coming and going from the million places I seem to drive them to. I know it will be all too soon before they're gone. And I will definitely miss them, but boy will I be happy to get rid of that van!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Precious post! And that pictures is adorable!

Mine are all close in age too. I love it that way. And I have a slew of nieces who are all close in age too.