Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Empty Nest - Full Heart ~ 2

Two of my handsome boys!

My son, Cameron, came in to have lunch with me last week! He was soooo sweet! We had called each other to make the arrangements and the plan was that he was going to meet me at the hospital and I was going to buy his lunch. Well, he shows up all smiley and kind of secretive and then he showed me he had a bag of Taco Time tacos and burritos and two Diet Pepsi's. It just warmed my heart because Taco Time has always been one of my favorite places to eat since I was a little girl (my parents bought Taco Time every Saturday night since I was a tiny thing!). I passed on the tradition that Taco Time is kind of a treat and a fun place to eat to my boys; we all LOVE it!!! I was just so surprized and touched that he wanted to surprise me with this neat lunch. He was grinning from ear to ear. We had a wonderful lunch together. Boy, that sure made my day! Two days later I had a day off and was out on a walk and when I came back to the house Mackenzie was there! He was stopping by to pick up his mail and he came inside and we had a great conversation. I just love visiting with my sons and it means so much to me to stay in touch with them.

For those of you that don't know, both of these boys moved out just four months ago and we are all still adjusting. They are doing fine, but I seem to be teetering! I am missing them so much, I was doing really well until just last week. I actually cried. I know I should have blogged about it, and cried out for help from my blogger friends, but I get weird about it and I don't want to talk about it until I am through it and on the other side. Empty nest syndrome is kind of mysterious. You go along in life skipping along and your heart is singing and then BAM....it hits you, this big wave of sadness that you don't know where it comes from just hits you so hard and you cry and mope around. Then just like it came on so suddenly, it can leave so suddenly. When I am not experiencing a wave of sadness in regards to my children growing up, I am just fine. I am happy and I feel strong, but when it hits me, I am a blubbering mess.


Webster's dictionary states the definition for empty nest syndrome:

emp·ty–nest syndrome: an emotional letdown often experienced by an empty nester
empty nest·er : a parent whose children have grown and moved away from home

Answers.Com gives the following information:

Empty nest syndrome is a general feeling of loneliness that parents/other guardian relatives may feel when one or more of their children leave home. While more common in women, it can happen to both sexes. The marriage of a child can lead to similar feelings, with the role and influence of the parents often becoming less important compared to the new spouse.

A strong maternal or paternal bond between the parent and child can make the condition worse. The role of the parent while the child is still living with them is more hands-on and immediate than is possible when they have moved out, particularly if the distance means that visits are difficult.

Social and cultural factors:Empty nest syndrome has become more prevalent in modern times, as the extended family is becoming less common than in past generations, and the elderly are left living by themselves.

In many cultures, such as those in Africa, India, Middle Easter and East Asia, one's elderly parents were held in very high esteem and it was considered almost a duty to care for and respect them. In contrast to most Western societies, extended families were common in those places. However, nowadays, even in these countries, as cities become more Westernized and industrialized, values are gradually changing. It is sometimes rather inconvenient or impractical to live with or care extensively for one's parents in a modern setting. This is also true if these relatives were abusive or otherwise repressive. Empty Nest Syndrome is starting to surface in some of those nations as well, where traditional values come in conflict with Westernization. This has been especially the case for Hong Kong.

Treatment: It is usual for time to be freed up when a child moves out, especially if there are no siblings left in the house. It is usually advised that the parent or parents should find new activities and distractions to take up some of this time. However, some depressions can become very severe and the person should seek professional help.
Well......I sure hope I do not go into a full blown depression or need professional help and it seems funny that there is a TREATMENT header! But I do know that it is something that is hard to deal with, especially because you don't know when it might hit. Everytime I have gone through the sadness I think, "oh good, that will be the last time, no more sadness", but then it will happen again.

I know that this is a time I need to be leaning on the Lord. He knows what He is doing! He has a plan for my life! He is not finished with me. He has made more of a purpose for me than just bearing and raising my children! I want to have the right attitude and be postive and excited about the new things coming my way, but honestly, sometimes it is hard.

For all of us mother's who are teary eyed, we need to recognize that the past is gone and there is no getting it back. We need to create a new life and realize that this is our new normal and we need to find good in the stage that we are in. Once we start accepting this then we can start moving forward. We need to rediscover ourselves and perhaps try to acheive some of long forgotten goals (oil painting, piano lessons, karate, etc.). We need to rekindle our old friendships and create new friends. We should volunteer. There are lots of great things out there to fill our lives and enjoy some of the quiet and tranquility.

I would love to hear any advice from those of you have gone through this (or are still going through it). I'm not saying my life is over, I know that my kids still need me, of course they do! Hayden is only 14! I know that my husband needs me and loves me, all my boys will always need us and love us, and I have my great friends and my job and my church etc... it is just a painful journey of this big adjustment in my life.

Above all, we know that God is at the healm and He is leading our lives. He has a purpose for us!

"Show me Your ways, o Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour, and my hope is in You all day long." Psalm 25:4,5

Blessings ~ Sharon

25 comments:

Jan Parrish said...

Oh Sharon, I feel your pain.

Monday night at Bible study, I was talking to another empty nester and asked her how she was doing and she just started to cry. I am there too.

I wasn't expecting it to be this hard and I don't have any answers. I think we just need to walk through it.

I don't have all this free time I need to fill up. My life is very full. I just miss them. I had no idea it would be so hard.

Your post is helpful though because you know how it feels. Maybe we all just need to support one another in this.

jennifer said...

Oh Sharon, I have no advice because I blessedly still have my babies at home. But I know th day is comming and I dread it - those kids are the sunshine in my days. Your sons are SO handsome. Aren't you proud that you have raised independent men who can go into the world and make their way? When you come through the depression, pat yourself on the back! Jennifer

Feathering My Nest said...

Sharon, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know my time is around the corner. You are such a good mother and I am so happy your boys do such loving things for you. They are strong independent boys, but they love their mother and appreciate her. I love you. you know you can always call me. I understand though when you'd rather wait. I've been there too. Love and hugs, Kathi

Nunnie's Attic said...

Sharon,
My sons are growing up so quickly. They're 13 and almost 15. There are days when I can't wait for them to go off to school...but that passes and I know how much I'll miss them when they leave. Hang in there honey. This too shall pass.

Love,
Julie

Scrappy Jessi said...

oh girl!! you will be fine. you have raised 2 wonderful boys who still love there mom! it's nice to see that they feel so close to you!
you did a great job. now it's time for them to fly!
have a great weekend.
jessi

Velvia said...

Hi Sharon!
I'm so glad you got to spend time with Cameron and McKenzie, that time is so precious isn't it? I can empathize with you, even though we know God has wonderful, new things in store for us it's still difficult letting go.

I love the pictures of the moon, they are beautiful. Especially, the one that came out looking heart shaped! I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!
Love, Velvia

BittersweetPunkin said...

How very sweet and thoughtful it was for your son to bring you lunch and eat with you! I can only pray that my son will do that someday!
You are a wonderful Mother!
Blessings,
Robin

Lori said...

Sharon, While back I came across your site and peek in every so often. I love all you share and do! Today I sit on the same side as you! In Oct. of 2006 my eldest son moved 1900 miles away, there are days I'm fine and there are days I feel so broken hearted. When he left to go back to AZ after the holidays it was worst then ever before. I have four children altogether, two home. In May my youngest is graduating,in July he leaves for the Air Force. Sharon, I cry so often, I know they grow, I know this is the plan, but my heart is breaking. I know the times are coming closer, I know the rituals that will take place, I know I will see and hear him sworn in, I know he won't be home for Christmas, I wonder will he go to war. You definitions were on target about parents who share a closer relationship hurt more, but I would never change that with any of my kids. I know you and I will heal some,I know it will be hard, but I don't think we would EVER change the relationship we have with our children, just to make their moving any easier for us! Hang in their, I'll be thinking of you! Lori

Sarah said...

I know that this is a time I need to be leaning on the Lord. He knows what He is doing! He has a plan for my life! He is not finished with me. He has made more of a purpose for me than just bearing and raising my children! I want to have the right attitude and be postive and excited about the new things coming my way, but honestly, sometimes it is hard.

Wise words and I feel the same for opposite reasons today, I'm finding it hard with my two little ones who are going through a spell of bickering and it is very frustrating, but I know that right now this is the role God wants me in and He will guide me in the best way of dealing with it; He has wonderful plans for me AND my children I need to remember that. Thank you for reminding me of how much a blessing our children are!

Hugs.

Kelly said...

Oh Sharon! I'm hugging the computer! LOL! (Virtually squeezing you! :o)

You are just the sweetest most wonderful mother. Your boys are immensely blessed. I am continually inspired by you and pray to have the same closeness with my children when they are the same age as your boys. You really do mother in Jesus and it's so fantastic!!

I know that my dad went through a very hard time when I left the house...but Grace totally remedied that for him! ;o) I went to college right after high school and was never back in the house much after that. I had Grace when I was 24, so my dad had six years of missing me and now he's like, "Kelly, who?" LOL! It's all about Mary-Grace! One day your boys are going to have little ones of their own and all they're going to want to do is go to Grandmom Sharon's house. :o) Just think of all those cheeks you'll get to kiss and all of the love that will be exponentially increasing! The best is yet to come!

Kelli said...

Aww..I"m sorry you are so sad, Sharon. I haven't gone through the empty nest thing yet but I know it will be here before long. Grace is turning 10 tomorrow and I can't believe it. Your boys and so handsome and they sure love their mama! You did a great job!
Sending prayers and ((((hugs)))
Kelli

Sondra said...

I am so happy that you got to spend time with the boys. I know that time is special now that they are gone. I call my two all the time and ask them to come over to visit. Sometimes they are 'busy' hanging out with friends and it makes me sad that I am not first anymore :(

Pam said...

Sharon:
I totally understand where you are coming from. I think the hardest thing (reading the comment above from Sarah) is that many days ARE hard and exhausting when they are little. They start being such interesting people to spend time with - and then poof - they're grown. Childhood really does pass in the blink of an eye. But I'm going to think of the future like Kelly suggested!! Not too many years from now we can be blogging grannies! BTW, I got my blog going today. You asked me a few weeks ago if I had one - so come visit anytime. Love,
Pam

nannykim said...

Hi--and I just heard a spot on this concerning divorce. They think the divorce rate is higher with people that have been married 28-30 some odd years partly because the couple was so kid focused blah blah blah. But I understand what they are saying--we do really get wrapped up in our kids and their lives and sometimes we identify ourselves with them--then when they go its like--woow who am I--but it is just another season that needs some adjustment. ;-)

Mimi said...

it is very hard for a while after the last one leaves... but you just find other things to occupy yourself with... and they will come back from time to time...
as you and your husband get busier together you find you miss them less and less... and the long phone conversations become a very strong link for you....
enjoy redoing their rooms!!!
{{Hugs}}
Mimi

Mrs Lavender said...

Sharon,

I was afraid that I had done something to offend you. Please forgive me if I have.

You have quite handsome boys. Your son in the red cap looks a bit like Nicholas Cage to me.

Have a lovely evening.

Denise said...

Oh..... it gets better but for me it never goes away.... I think especially for those of us that have raised only son's.... I think that the daughters stay closer. No facts in that only thoughts..... I have two son's and the youngest is 38 ..... When he bebop's into my back door just to say Hi Mom.. I light up like a beacon..... it is just too hard some days even after so many years........but it is as it was intended to be....... God will always see you through...

Kelly said...

Oh Sharon, my prayers are so with you!!! You are such a good person and have done such a wonderful job with all these boys......They must really adore you.....
I do know about waiting for that cloud to totally go over before you talk about it, and for me to say to just get it all out and not hold it in is easier said then done. I think with the boys so loving and talks and lunches etc you will be building a whole new realm of memories!

Always in my thoughts!!!
Kelly

Kelley said...

What handsome boys Sharon!
I can't imagine how hard having an empty nest is... I will be there in a few short years and I know that it is going to be very difficult for me...
You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Cottage Contessa said...

Oh sweetheart, I'm so sorry. I don't have any advice, but I know I am not looking forward to the experience either. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Have a wonderful weekend sweetie with your dear loving family. Hugs for you!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

nannykim said...

Hey did you get a bunch of snow--??I heard some place in your state has about 13 feet!! YIKES!! ALso--when are you going to get your bedroom together---would love to see pics!!! OR did I miss them??

Mary said...

Sharon,

I know what this feels like. I had only one child because her father died when she was very young. So that was a time of great adjustment, as I missed him terribly. We had been best friends since we were very young.

When Michelle left home I felt somewhat abandoned and it took a long time before I didn't cry on a daily basis. I did eventually adjust and now have two wonderful grandsons and a husband to help fill my empty nest. Thank you for sharing. I will be praying for you.

Blessings,
Mary

Sharon said...

Thank you everyone for leaving such wonderful comments! It really helps to know that I am not alone and that there are so many of you mothers out there that are so supportive. We should all lift each other up in prayer about this.

You all are such jewels to me!

Love you all! Sharon

britt said...

Geeze your son in the red beanie is handsome...whoever has him is definitely a lucky gal! :)

Sharon said...

Oh Britt.......you are too funny! You are that lucky girl!!! And he's luck to have you and I feel lucky to have you too!!!

Love ya, Sharon

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