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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Empty nest again

Back when she was a 'child' of 18, my youngest headed off to university, as somehow we've come to expect that our children will. It wasn't easy to see her go, but we survived.
Then at the end of her first year, despite being in the running for excellent overall results, she decided the course wasn't for her, and she'd get a job while she thought things over.
She came home, found work straight away, and we settled into a rhythm. She'd be here for most of the week but frequently away at weekends, either visiting friends in other parts of the UK or, in this last year particularly, jetting off round Europe. After my first doubts about this - particularly when she went holidaying alone in Italy - I got used to the whole idea, vicariously sharing her experiences, and collecting masses of postcards from everywhere she visited. 


All good things come to an end though, so they say, and now we're in for another big change. She's heading away for longer - taking a job at quite a distance - and I'm back to that first empty nest horror. I think her being away for a year, then coming back to stay, just made me appreciate her presence and what she brought to our small family unit more. 
This move feels more final than heading off to uni, though that doesn't really make sense. There's no reason to suppose the move is forever - who knows, in a month or a couple of years she could decide this wasn't the right job at all! - and I expect to see her as frequently as we did during her uni year, possibly even more as she has the cash for train fares, and we have the enticement of our older daughter's baby here.

To be suddenly faced with any change comes as a bit of a shock though and I think the uni years work as a sort of half-way house, giving both parents and youngsters time to become accustomed to living apart. 
However long you try to delay it, this point is going to come along. No one expects their children to stay in the family home forever, and if she'd finished her course out, now would be the time she'd be thinking of job-hunting, which would probably have taken her away from home anyway.


For now, I'm just trying to feel relieved that she didn't decide to travel the world for a year, and that the wonders of social media will allow us to still feel close.

10 comments:

  1. My kids all left home at 18 and apart from an occasional holiday (we parents live in Dubai) they've never come back to live at home. It's been almost 4 years since the last one left and I can say it's only now that I've finally adjusted #tweensyeensbeyond

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    1. That must an awful shock - especially when the last one leaves. No chance for them to come home for an odd weekend, or even to hang about in the after uni/looking for work gap. It makes me realise how lucky I am that my daughter's only a couple of hours away by train (though it feels like a million miles!)

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  2. Wow, it's all happening for you at the moment isn't it Mary. Very poignant to read and another change to get used to. Wonderful that your daughter has a job and I hope that she loves it. But that little one is certainly going to be a draw for bringing everyone together so I suspect you'll be seeing a lot of her. And, you will of course be kept busy with your new role as grandparent. Certainly a sign of how things keep changing at every life stage. Look forward to hearing how it all goes. Thanks for joining us at #tweensteensbeyond

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    1. Life never seems to stand still, does it? Something's always changing, and children growing up and leaving is something we've got to expect. I definitely think the baby will bring her back quite frequently, and as you say, he can be a new focus of attention for me - in fact, I have my first baby-sitting 'date' next week :)

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  3. oh I truly feel for you, I have quite a few years before mine move out or away and I treasure keeping them close right now, but I dread the thought of them all moving away. It will be nice to see them grow and make their own lives, but i know it will also break my heart. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. Make the most of the time while they're young - before you realise they're grown and flown the nest! Sadly it seems that most youngsters end up moving away from home to pursue careers elsewhere - but at least we have all the wonders of social media to keep in touch through :)

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  4. Yet another change Mary!! I always love your posts about parenting young adults that are a little older than mine. I think you are right, the uni years are a sort of half way house during which a lot of adjustments can be made. I have no doubt that you and your younger daughter will successfully define this new stage of your relationship but also understand it is a big thing! As you say, thank goodness for social media. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. I've been saying to my older daughter about baby-rearing that once you've established a routine, it changes. Seems like the same is true with parenting grown-up children too :( It certainly is a huge change, but I'm not sure I really believe it's happened - it just feels rather like she's away on one of her (many) holidays!

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  5. Oh Mary I am a relative newcomer to the empty nest syndrome and when my eldest returned from University for Christmas I got back into the rhythm of him being around again and hated it when he left to go back. In a way I suppose that is similar to your scenario, you have become used to having your daughter with you and now you need to adjust again and change is always hard. From what you have said before you clearly have a strong relationship and she is good at keeping in contact and that must be a comfort. I wish her well - she will be home before you know it after all - home is where the heart is! #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. Oh Jo, I can imagine how hard it must have been to see him go away again after Christmas. I feel I was so lucky to have my daughter back home for 18 months, but there's no way grown up children are going to stay at home forever, is there?

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