Empty Nest Syndrome – Redux

Quite a few years ago we went through what all parents experience. That lonely, hollow feeling when the kids leave us for lives of their own. That time when the offspring finally spring off.

Son and daughter soon to fly the nest….

Left to our own devices, we had to reinvent ourselves. We faced the daunting task of putting our own interests first. And to be quite honest, we first had to figure out what those were. But we perseverved and settled in to new routines, letting our creativity flow from heretofore untapped wells of talent, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Then came the crown jewel of family life, grandchildren. That etherial time when all other worldly concerns fade as cherubs enlightened every thought. It blended perfectly with our new found freedoms as we indulged their every whim without concern. After all, it was their parents who would deal with any aftermath.

Nonny and Poppy, back in action….

But now, even they have grown. They have their own activities and sets of friends. We, though always in their hearts, are now only occasionally in their lives. We were adrift once again.

Until last summer, when our oldest granddaughter, whose family is  in Charlottesville, wanted to stay with us. She found a summer job as a restaurant hostess. We knew she wanted to do that again this year. But she surprised us by asking if her best friend from college could join her this time. We readily agreed. They were both able to work at the restaurant.

We quickly became immersed in the lives of these young gals and their college friends (many of whom live in this area). The house was constantly spilling over with young adults going to or coming from work,  kayaking on the lake or swimming at the beach or the pool or fixing a meal or planning an evening out or….well, you get the idea. It was stimulating just to be around such activity and zest for life. Best of all, these young folks fit right in and genuinely interacted with us. They were as interested in us as we were in them.

To top it off, our younger granddaughter came to stay for a few days with a high school friend of hers. This place was busting at the seams with activity! Emails, texts and snapchats stretched the very limits of the wifi bandwidth.

Did I mention going for ice cream? (granddaughter on the left)

But alas, all good things must end. The school bell beckons and they must answer the call. Tearful farewells were shared and the girls, carrying with them our own feigned youth, disappeared into the distance. In mere moments those long ago feelings of unavoidable abandonment surfaced again.

Isn’t there a law against double jeopardy? Because that’s what this feels like.

18 thoughts on “Empty Nest Syndrome – Redux

    • Thanks for the comment, Ronnie. Believe me, I know how lucky we are. Only have two grandchildren but we see them every few months. They are three hours away.

  1. I feel for you both, as I remember how sharp this can be. Lovely to have the heart memories and the gift of that time together, but it requires a concerted effort to re-discover life in the vacuum their leaving creates. ❤ for you both ❤ Lovely family pics, my Bro. Xxx

  2. I totally understand…. and yes it does feel like double jeopardy! I even see that now with grandchildren ages 7 and 10…. but I am grateful just as I am sure you are for having had the chance to make memories that everyone will carry in their hearts forever! jfh

    • Well said, Janet. My maternal grandparents gave me wonderful memories. I also lived with them a few summers. I feel like this is my way to pay it forward.

  3. I call it the readjustment period Al. I think I even have an unfinished post sitting in my drafts with that title. Maybe I should pull it out & finish it.

    When our home is filled with such energy & life, it is so hard to readjust when everyone leaves once again. How wonderful your home provides such a welcoming place for your granddaughters & their friends. That says something about you & your wife!

  4. I know exactly how you feel! After my kids or grand-kids leave after an extended stay, I can’t bear to go into their bedroom for weeks. It is just too empty. (The fridge heaves a big sigh of relief, however…)

  5. Oh man – that stinks. If you ask me parents need to stop feeding their kids so they’ll stop growing. That’s the only way to prevent this type of travesty from ever happening again.

    But, seriously, you have beautiful granddaughters and I’m so glad you got to enjoy them for a brief moment in time.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. My Aunt and Uncle moved back to our area a few years back. They knew their grandkids would be attending the college in the town they moved to. Since that time they have housed grandkids, grandkids” friends, kids that have no connection to grandkids but needed a place to stay etc.
    My aunt always says she is tired when they leave but I think the issue is she now realizes she is tired and before she was to busy to acknowledge that tiredness.
    Sounds like a great time when they show up Al. Cherish that and rest up when they leave because they will surely come again!

    • Thanks, Faye. I wish her college wouldn’t end. Someday she’ll actually have to live somewhere else! But maybe the younger one will take her place….hmmmm…..

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