Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Empty Nest

Some of you may know that I use to write articles for an online magazine back in 2008 called Blissfully Domestic. They asked me to do a post on The Empty Nest once and this is a copy of it. I thought it would be fun to re-post it as a few of my friends, (Connie and Nellie) are about to have all their kids married. Anyway, for what's it worth, here is what we tried to do. I guess the true test of our success would be to check in with our kids and see how we are doing...

I don't write for the e-zine anymore because they were new and went through so many formatting and platform changes that it took forever to get it into their system and to comply to all the specifications of publishing, i.e. resizing photos, so many words per article, etc. I prefer to just do my own crazy thing on my own blogs.

Here is my first published article on the Blissful Family Channel of Blissfully Domestic. If you click on the large title link (this seems to work on our PC but not always on our Mac) you can see how it looks in the online magazine!

September 18th, 2008 by Bonnie

Few people experience the empty nest in quite the same way my husband and I did. Our children are all three years apart in age. In 1997 we had three big weddings in four months; something no parent expects! Not only that but within that year I turned fifty, and had a hysterectomy, so you can imagine the state of my hormones and emotions at that time. I was so unprepared for the immediate empty nest. It was a time of many mixed emotions and I never thought the day would actually come. It was a wonderful time in so many ways and we were so fortunate to get three wonderful new adult children. I just wish we had thought ahead more to that moment in time that most assuredly would and did come.

It didn’t take long to realize how much our roles as their parents changed when they got married. These are some things we did right away to ease into the transition.

We created a mission statement as a couple to clarify our goals and expectations of our new roles:

  • We wanted to maintain the closeness we had and to include their spouses as equals in a real way in the family. We made every effort to make them feel loved and special to us. We got rid of the “in-law” designation.
  • We decided that our role would be one of love and support. We realized how difficult the first years of marriage are and didn’t want to be a part of the problem of their adjustment.
  • We made an effort to know the families of our new adult children and to support their relationships with their own families. We had a desire to be one big family rather than having a his and hers designation, that made them feel like they were being pulled in two directions. This helped so much when the grandchildren started to come along.
  • We made a conscious decision to give advice only when asked. We became good at biting our tongues! We were no longer the directors of their lives but consultants on call.
  • We encouraged good relationships between our married children so they would all want their children to know and love their cousins, aunts and uncles.
  • We have made a concerted effort to be the glue in the family.

A happy Grandpa with 8 of the 10!

These things do not just happen without planning and effort. These few goals have made a big difference in how the last 11 years have gone. It helped lay a foundation for the best thing in life yet…being Grandma and Grandpa to 10 beautiful little kids!

Bonnie will be posting about grandparenting and the parenting of adult children in future posts. She loves blogging and uses it as a tool to keep her family united. She also writes about interior decorating on the Home and Garden Channel. Coming soon~ her redesigned blog.


Caroline Craven said...

As usual, I am lagging behind in all departments - catching up on blogs and becoming empty nesters! Everyone my age is back to the beginning and we are still here with three kids and many years ahead (although I know they will go faster than I want them to go). Since I am so content to have most of them all here, it makes me wonder how I will do when the inevitable "empty nest" days will come. I hope I have the $$$ to fill the time with trips to see the grandies!

Sister Susie said...

My perspective is from a different glance. I was always the proverbial little bird that was never kicked out of the nest. Now the nest has been abandoned except for me. :-{

But, there's coming a day when I will exchange this nest for a mansion. Oh, Happy Day to see that "nest" abundant with the joy of all who once inhabited it and more as well! :-}

Love to you and yours,

Julie Harward said...

Great write! Mine are all out of the nest now..but they keep flitting back in and out..I love that they still need me! ;D

Marie said...

What a beautifully well written post Bonnie. Such good advice here. You are a treasure. I am sure all your daughters and sons in law just adore you and Jim! xxoo