Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Empty Nest Syndrome ... not me??

This post is dedicated to cousin Cathie and Jan & Darleen's grandkids - Katelynn & Harvey.

It is transcript of a speech written by Darleen 3 years ago.

With Love xxoo ...darleen

Empty Nest Syndrome? Not Us!

Empty Nest Syndrome is something you NEED to prepare for!
That is what our friends whose children had recently moved out told us.

What? Sadness and depression - due to the children leaving? What is this Empty Nest Syndrome? I even looked it up and read the findings to my husband.

From Wiktionary:
empty nest syndrome
  1. a feeling of loneliness or depression experienced by some parents when their children have matured and left home
 And Women's Health
"Well, it's not a term you'll find in many medical text books, but it has become a useful phrase for identifying and encapsulating the feelings of sadness and loss that many parents experience when their children no longer live with them, or need day-to-day care.  
Mothers are particularly affected.
It is quite normal for parents to feel some sadness at this time.

It is quite normal to have a little weep now and again
- and it is even normal to go into the absent child's bedroom and sit there for a bit in an attempt to feel closer to him or her."

We were in fits of laughter, almost rolling on the floor –
 ‘A little weep ? .. We don’t think so!
I asked my husband if he was going to be sad with us being on our own –
The smirk he gave me and dreamy look could only mean … no, he was thinking of something altogether different than depression – His eyes glazed over , AND A SONG  ERUPTED FROM HIM -->>

Brand New Girlfriend!! by Steve Holy

I got a brand new girlfriend.
We went and jumped off the deep end,
Flew out to LA for the weekend,
Spent the whole day, lyin' on the beach,
Wearin' nothin' but a smile,
Playin' kissy-kissy, smoochy-smoochy,
Talkin' mooshy-mooshy bout nothin'.
Man, i think im on to somethin',
Because i feel just like a kid again.
I got a brand new girlfriend,

 ‘Why would anyone struggle with the empty nest syndrome?’ Heck we could hardly wait. Get them out and on their own. Isn’t that the goal after all? Raise them to be independent and able to go out into the world?

My husband and I, between the 2 of us have a total of 5 girls – all young adults now.  Count then – 2 23 / 2 20 twins and 1 19 about to start university. PMS is an understatement, although we never had all 5 living with us under one roof at the same time. ‘One in five will be sane’ my husband likes to say – and is not always the same one, but usually only one at a time!!

Life was rarely boring throughout their teen years, as someone was always crying due to a boy, awful hair, weight gain, weight loss, and many other reasons including the moon was in the wrong part of the sky. As a woman, and mother, I could easily (well for the most part) ignore their dramas, as knew it was mostly emotional and would pass in time, if not within 5 minutes - especially if a boy called!

Cooking for them was hopeless, as what they just had to have yesterday would suddenly become disgusting today, or they were now… vegan! A stocked fridge and turning a blind eye to kitchen cleanup was essential for household calmness. A lock was installed on our bedroom door and my husband began hiding things, magazines, razor blades, special soaps and beauty products, in the locked room – along with alcohol, favorite foods, snacks and movies. This eliminated the fighting, and denying of ‘who took my almonds?’ or ‘how could she have eaten the entire box in one sitting?’ I did think at one time that there was more in the locked bedroom than elsewhere, and did we need to install a fridge in the bedroom? And then it suddenly it was no longer required. They did not stop eating; they just were not there.

At the first instance of no children coming home, we were delighted. It was quiet as constant rap-crap no longer played or television blared. Peace. And we enjoyed it.

But.  They came back. First it was just one that needed a place to stay temporarily while her and the boyfriend were rearranging their life. We had to find a place for her to bed down, as since we finally had the house to ourselves we had started to renovate, and had the bedrooms in disarray. One evening we went out, and came home to be confronted with the fact that another sister was on her way, as she had broken up with her fianc√©. Ok, so now we had 2 daughters at home, and one boyfriend that would arrive for a short time as well for a 2-month stay. There was a lot of emotional and other support required for the daughter that was going through the relationship breakup.  I jumped back into being mom and needed with all 4 feet! Surprisingly, I realized l liked them being home, and that I was in no hurry to see them go – but of course this time they were in a hurry!

I am glad to report that they did leave within 2 months, and are leading responsible lives and enjoying life in their own apartments.  I miss them more then I ever thought possible this second time around. I now understand the other parent’s woes and that Empty Nest Syndrome is more like an empty heart. I felt needed as a mom again; I could talk to them without getting frustrated or telling them what to do, but had real conversations. I was able to share in their lives again and even give advice that was at least listened to, even though I know they will still do things their way. We cooked together, watched favorite movies together, had ice cream at midnight and borrowed each others clothes!

And then it was over.

They moved into their new apartments and with us being required to help with the first grocery shopping and move in – they were gone. The house was quiet. We were once again alone. During the day while my husband went off to work, I was very alone. The house was too quiet.
I admit to even having a little weep now and again. UGH!

But there is joy again; as yet another daughter came home the week after her sisters moved out to announce that she was 1) pregnant and 2) getting married ASAP! As this news washed over me, or more like a bucket of water was dumped on me…I thought …a baby is a wonderful, and a wedding needed planning. Mom was very much needed again!

We got her married with me as the mother of the bride and also I was the wedding planner. Now we are moving into the baby is coming phase – making me - grandma!  Due to circumstances she is with us for part of this time, so we get to enjoy her again, and also share in her pregnancy. I am enjoying this so much more after realizing how special this is to be able to share with her, and have her with us for a little bit longer.

 The baby will be the start of a whole new generation to enjoy, and watch grow up.
And this time, I will enjoy so much more, as I appreciate that this is my second chance to do just that!

Empty Nest Syndrome? – Not us! - as our nest is never empty for long.
Oh … and they say the baby is  … a Girl ….  Katelynn

 MORE ....

We finally did get our first BOY ..... 18 months later - Harvey!!

And for Cathie and Jan that will not have grandkids to fill the void - I do feel your pain. My grandkids are amazing, and becoming a 'Grandma' is the most wonderful experience. BUT - I still miss my girls, and being a mom. As well this Empty Nest happens at a time in our lives, that we really, really desire to feel loved and surrounded by those special to us - maybe to get even? We are going through changes within ourselves and somedays are not sure who we are any longer. BUT .. again remember
- Rule # 6 and a new  one. Darleen's Rule # 7 - YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
... seek out those that you have not had time for, and discover YOU.

Congratulate Yourself!
Although the job of being a parent is forever, you have reached a goal. You have raised an independent young adult! Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
YES, this was the goal - Jan, not to have babies forever :)
YOU did good.

Of course still -  it is quite normal to have a little weep now and again.
 And you can always call me 24 x7!!

NOW FOR the MEN .... welcome your wife in her new state.

...darleen & jan

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