Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Empty Nest Post

This is an Empty Nest post. That's because it is the musings of a mother whose children are getting married.

Apologies in advance if this post annoys anyone.

My last couple blogs here (and in my other blog) have been about the neighbor boy getting married. He and his siblings are close and long-time friends of my kids, and so it does almost feel like one of my own got married. He and his new wife flew off to the east coast early this morning to start their own nest, unpacking wedding gifts and turning a single's home into a couple's home.

What do these actions bring to the mom? (Well, to me at least, the surrogate mom, and likely to the real mom as well?) It brings relief. It also brings happiness, but somehow I'd describe it more as relief.

That may sound silly, but somehow there is this feeling inside of me that
  1. our kids are not really grown up until they are married
  2. our kids now have someone besides me to care for them, to make sure they are ok
  3. now I'm no longer responsible for that child's well-being, someone else is.
I know, there are plenty of mature, self-sufficient, single, happy 20-somethings out there who probably think I'm really stupid for feeling this way. Sorry. I don't mean to dis you in any way. Nevertheless, that's how I feel.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aw! I don't feel dissed! I find it funny, but understandable. I bet my mother probably secretly feels the same way. I hope you are having a wonderful time down in Texas. Here in D.C. these days it feels more like October than anything else! Cool and gloomy! But although my own single's home is rather quiet these days, I'm working to make it as cheery as possible. Best wishes!

-P

Melchizedek said...

Do you fell that way about other peoples' kids?

John and Jessie Trinh said...

I know that my mother thoroughly agrees with you!

Thainamu said...

Melchizedek, I do feel that way about other people's kids, if I know them well enough to love them.

P, your mom probably feels the same way, she is just to nice to say so out loud!

J&J, I heard you met my friend at your church last Sunday. Cool!

Anonymous said...

is this why my mom treats me drastically different now that "i'm married"?

if so this is my suggestion to all parents. Yes, your child does have someone else to take care of them, but sometimes it may mean they need more support being out on there own. After all (if their spouse is in school full time) they now are financially responsible for two people. So even though they are "married" they may have a harder time caring for themselves then your other single child.

Thainamu said...

That's a good point you bring up, Anonymous#2. I think there is an assumption by parents that once a child is married, the parents won't/shouldn't have any more financial obligations toward him or her. Of course, just because a child gets married doesn't mean he or she automatically has all the funds needed to survive, either. Maybe that's why my early days of marriage were the poorest I've ever been!

Maybe parents could still help the married child financially by providing an extra-generous Christmas or birthday gift, but ongoing support seems to me to somehow undermine the independence of the new household. (As I told my kids many times while growing up: you aren't independent until you're financially independent.)

Mrs. Elliott said...

This post reminded me of what I read in Ruth today about Naomi wishing for her daughters-in-laws to find "rest in the house of their husbands." It makes sense to wish for children to have the safety and security of a helpmate and/or provider. You just have a heart like Naomi's heart.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 2 was me,,, woops :)

I am just frustrated and the difference in treatment between my older sister and i, now I'm not one that normally cares about this, because I totally realize all children are different and need to be treated different, but i hate the constant brought up fact that its different because i'm married. my older sister has been on her own for 2 more years than me and yet she warrents them paying for her vacation, plane tickets, even living in there house rent free for as long as she wants....simply because she is "single." Now I dont want all these things (although the extra money toward plane tickets would help) but I dont see the reasoning behind it. Many people are "single" in this world and can do just fine on there own. Both of us are capable of doing just fine on our own, and I think we both need to experience hard times, so I wouldn't criticize my parents if they did nothing. But I think if you are going to help at all financially base it on need...not on there married status.

-mandie

Ma Hoyt said...

This is all very interesting, Thainamu :-)

Maybe I feel my two oldest (unmarried) daughters are adults because I still have little kids at home to compare them to.

And with a five-year-old in the house, I don't even have that sense of longing I've heard expressed in some ladies with oldest children in their twenties, "I can't wait to have grandchildren!"

To me, my two oldest seem like adults because they have graduated from college, have jobs and are responsible for their living accommodations, which are 2 and 8 hours away, respectively.

But it's more than just that. They both have demonstrated the self-discipline to make wise choices for themselves, whether it concerns money or even the type of food they eat.

(so yeah, Jason, you have survived your first year of college, but cutting back on the pop and pop-tarts will move you up another notch on Ma's maturity yardstick :-D )

I'm just tickled that my limitations as a homeschooling mother haven't scarred them for life.

Basically, anyone who can do higher math than myself, is an adult.

Thainamu said...

Ma, you're funny! And the fact that your nest is far from empty may have something to do with it.

More than once I thought I should have taken up foster parenting or adopted more kids. I suppose it sounds stupid, but once my kids were grown up I thought, well, we did a reasonable job raising them, so we should keep doing something we're good at! But, I don't think we would qualify as adoptive parents due to our pay scale, and my husband wasn't really interested in the foster parent thing.

So, instead, I just continue to over-parent my own kids! :-( And wait for grandkids. :-)

dmcgarry said...

I can't help but agree with your sentiments. Most of my children are grown, but none are married, so I still do feel responsible for them. I guess it helps that none of them is yet full financially on their own yet (2 in college and 1 is a missionary, and has lived with us this summer). I don't imagine that I will truly "let go" until someone else steps in to "take care" of them.
Diane