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Empty nesters


Gemonimo

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After thirty three years, five months and 24 days I am finally an Empty Nester and it's truly AWFUL.  My last 'chick' finally flew the nest to go to Bristol University with the Erasmus scheme and all of a sudden there are only the three of us at home - me, myself and I.  I do have lots of projects lined up, not the least is my walk with Sweet 17 to St. Jacques, but does one 'get over it' and perhaps even rejoice in their departure? Or is it because we all came to France together a zillion years ago and now they have returned to their origins leaving me here?  Any advice (even a little sympathy[Www]) will be taken on board. 
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 I found it really hard when my daughter went to Uni even though my son ws still it at home. It wasn't made any easier because somehow the Uni denied all knowledge of receiving her accomodation option and she spent the first few days in an empty house waiting for older students to return.

My husband immediatley started dismantling her bedroom and moving her stuff to a smaller one, (I hated that) little did we think she'd ever come home to live again.

Life just changes I suppose, I found projects to do, saw more of friends and gradually I got used to it.

We'll actually be alone for a few nights this week, son is off to Corfu for a holiday and daughter is house sitting..... 

 

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We were very sad when we had an empty nest a year or so ago, though having a dog helps.

However we were rather enjoying life when a daughter moved back in - with all her goods and chattels - now we just rather treasure evenings to ourselves when we get one.
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Having threatened our (now) 27 and 29 year olds with suitcases being dumped on the lawn when we disappeared to France, they both miraculously left the nest within 3 months of one another !  That was last year, one of them flew as far as Australia but came back on a fleeting visit this summer.  I missed him dreadfully when he first went and have, like you, had to rely on Facebook, but that visit changed everything.  He'd only been back in the house 30 minutes when I realised how peaceful and tidy it had been for 12 months - no remains of sandwich making left on the kitchen worktop, no tubes of toothpaste squeezed from halfway down, all my husbands socks still in his drawer, but sadly no feet thrust onto my lap for masssaging after a long day at work (only a mother would do that surely ??).  He's back in Oz now and although it was fab to see him, it was even fabber to wave goodbye again, particularly knowing he'll be there to visit as often as we can afford get there !!!
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It was such a sad day when we said goodbye to our two daughters four years ago to follow our lifelong dream of living in France.  And it never really got any easier.  So, after two years, I made a compromise and arranged to spend half the year in England to be close to them again.  No sooner had I done this, my eldest daughter emigrated to Australia!

I would love for us to all be together again but, in reality, I know we would drive each other crazy.  Lovely to see them for short periods of time.  But Australia is soooo far away!

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Really we are pretty spoiled, my brother joined the merchant navy and his first trip was to Australia, I think he was away 6 months, all my mother got was a very occasional letter.....we actually moved while he was away and as a 6 year old I was petrified he'd never find us again.

These days we have email, IM, face book, twitter etc

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All your comforting words have made me feel so much better.  In fact, I'm beginning to see the good side of an empty nest - apart from the dirty laundry, toothpaste tubes and foot massages! No more 8.00am confrontations of WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT! And that's my son addressing me[:-))]  Seriously, though, I know they will all be back and I look forward to that moment .
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Isn't that the whole point of having children, that one day they are going to go off and make a life of their own.

As part helper to my wife, bringing up triplet boys, you do your best and try and kick them off in life better than your parents kicked you off. If you make a half decent job of it, they know you still love them and that you will always be there, as a safty net, in the difficult times.

Yes, it was quiet when ours left for university, more than a few tears were shed. Although, suffacating when they all came home. Age 28, they have all left, have there own homes and one is now married.

To mothers they will always be their little children, to me, three good mates with whom I can have a beer.

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You're absolutely right Peter, I believe we all want our children to make a life of their own but when the last one goes, unless there are grandchildren bringing up the rear, the hands on mothering has come to an end and we are left with an awful 'vide'. I guess it's a question of coming to terms with the passage of time and embracing the future knowing they will come home again.
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We are not empty nesters, with the older two being 21 and the younger two being 12 and 10. So maybe we will feel very vulnerable as the last of them leaves. However, we do feel that children need to go off and set up a life of their own. Our children have been very lucky with holidays and cars and every latest gadget. For the older ones it wasn't the best preparation for life with out our umbilical cord. However, we have always been extremely honest and told them that when education is done, that we will not support them financially.

Last year my son opted out of university after the second year. We had a long chat before he took the final decision, and I explained that there would be no financial support, and he needed to find his own way. Of course there is a bed at home if he gets stuck, but he wanted to stay in his uni town. That was a year ago. This week we were talking on the phone and he actually thanked me for doing what we did. He says he now understands the real value of money, and the value of having a job and working hard. It was incredibly tough following through on our promise, but I feel very proud that he has now worked things out for himself. We are now going through the same process with our 21 year old daughter who is at home, but preparing to move in to with a friend at christmas. We cut her money too, and she didn't hang around long before getting a full time job. Afterall she now has car insurance, night clubbing etc to pay for.

Personally I think we make it too easy for children to stay at home. They need to be kicked out sometimes - as nature intended!

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I agree, there is nothing wrong with tough love. When our's came home from Uni after the first year they were all in the red at the bank. I told them to get a summer job and have their bank balances back in the black before they returned or the financial support and red cross parcels would cease. They got a job in a local concrete factory and did hard graft for the next eight weeks. It probabley showed them how hard money is to earn.

Result, they didn't go pi**ing it up against the wall the year after

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Absolutely Baypond and PeterG, tough love is essential.  My three grew up with a single parent so helping out financially wasn't an issue but they did return to the fac with a boot full of noodles[+o(] every weekend and they all worked chez Leclerc for two months every summer in order to pay for any 'luxe' as they were boursiers.
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Not quite the same thing (although the result is the same), my wife and I split up in August, she's returned to her native Australia while I'm staying on in France with the two dogs. Was formally known as the poster richardandlynda (or was it lyndaandrichard, I can't remember), so am now known as just richard [:)] Thought about changing my forum name to posterformerllyknownasrichardandlynda but decided it was a bit too long.

Although we've split, we're still friends and often chat on msn etc. All amicable which is the best of a sad situation, but that's life sometimes.

Anyway, trying to deal with life alone is quite a challenge, especially in a foreign land where my French isn't up to scratch really. Still, it means I can focus on me and improving my French and trying to get out a bit more etc. Need a job though. Desperately. Anyone in need of some hands in 36 or surrounding depts?

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Richard I'm sorry to hear about your split, it must be very difficult for you.  I'm afraid I can't help on the work front but can only offer lots of encouragement and hope that things work out well for you.  There are people better placed than me on the Forum to give advice about help with language and employment so keep posting as I'm sure you'll be well advised.
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