Friday, June 27, 2014

From Empty Nest To Full House

     Our youngest is only a year from graduating----between school, work and an active social life, he's seldom home. Since our three older children flew the coop years ago, my husband and I have been enjoying a taste of freedom as "almost" empty nesters. I cook less, nap more and I get to spend unlimited time in the garden. Even better, there are plenty of uninterrupted Cialis moments bringing spontaneity back into our lives. My husband and I are rediscovering each other after thirty years of marriage, and suddenly it's 1984 all over again.
   
     Until karma came knocking at the door.

     My oldest daughter was offered a job transfer with the opportunity to move back to her hometown. A month later she arrived on our steps with a toddler on her hip and a moving van in the driveway. The quiet serenity I'd grown accustomed to disappeared before the first suitcase was unpacked.

     Gone are the days of sharing a leisurely cup of coffee over the morning news. My husband and I now sip our daily elixir while watching Chuggington with our granddaughter sandwiched between us on the couch.

     And the changes don't stop there.

     The living room that I kept as clean as a showroom floor is now littered with stuffed animals, a toddler trampoline, a plastic princess slide and a talking choo choo train. I'm having flashbacks of raising four kids with enough play equipment in my house to run an amusement park. I'm trapped in the Land of the Wee People where there are tiny little tables, tiny little chairs and tiny little toys cluttering my home.

     My life has become one long deja vu as I stress about spilled apple juice, gooey tabletops and curious dogs choking on Lego blocks. There are glass rings in the shape of an Olympics symbol on my fine wood furniture and unidentifiable stains that resemble a Rorschach inkblot test on my couch. These mishaps are a sharp reminder of the twenty years I spent with a roll of paper towels in one hand and a spray cleaner in the other.

     I've learned that 8:00 p.m. is the witching hour for small children when the dreaded word "bedtime" is uttered. It automatically sets off a siren that can be heard six blocks away. It's the battle cry of every rebellious toddler waging a war against sleep. My granddaughter is no exception, and the high decibels of her nightly tantrums make my ears bleed. This sets the dogs on edge, and within minutes my home sounds like it has been overrun by a pack of howling coyotes.

     Extra people in the house also means that my garbage bin looks like Mount Trashmore, the laundry pile is the height of Mount Kilimanjaro and the dirty dishes in the sink are stacked higher than Mount Everest. My home has been transformed into a mountain range.

     I'm dealing daily with unpleasant odors that permeate the air, but I'm not sure if the smell is from my flatulating pugs or a diaper gone wrong. Pretty soon I'll need to invest in a gag-o-meter to determine the culprit of stink.

     Other changes include a second refrigerator in our spare bedroom for our daughter's organic groceries. She prefers clean eating. The irony of this is not lost on me since all my children lived by the five second rule whenever food fell on the floor.

      The extra stress from all the changes in our home has caused my husband to gnash his teeth down to the size of corn niblets, and just yesterday I noticed that my night guard is now sporting new holes.

     I may be on the verge of a middle age meltdown, but in all the chaos, I've found magic. It comes in the form of a little girl's laughter when she rushes into my arms after her morning waffles and plants a sticky kiss on my cheek. It's there, at the kitchen table, when I share a glass of wine with my daughter as we giggle and gossip into the wee hours of the night. More importantly, there's magic behind every "I love you" and every embrace.

     I miss the freedom of an empty nest, but I'll gladly trade it for a house full of laughter, and all the sticky kisses my granddaughter has to offer.


You can find Meno Mama featured in two more places this week if you want to continue the laughter. I'm dishing about how much I hate clothes shopping over at Humor Outcasts: http://humoroutcasts.com/2014/shapely-shopping/. I'm also talking about what a klutz my husband is over on the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at: http://humorwriters.org/2014/06/25/sickness-health/

64 comments:

  1. I prefer empty nest with an occasional visit, you are a better g-parent than I am.

    As sticky kiss is nice though.

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    1. Stress levels are high but the sticky kisses are worth the chaos :)

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  2. I think the sticky kisses are worth it...I hope you enjoy your time with them, before you know it they will be gone. ♥♡♥

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  3. These kids/grandkids do get in the way of middle-aged rumpy-pumpy. The Cialis must be gathering dust! Lovely post, that made me both laugh and purr.

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  4. My daughter will be graduating next year, bu is planning time off before starting college. I can't even envision her not being here.

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    1. It IS hard when they first leave, but after awhile you get used to it and actually enjoy the extra time to yourself.

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  5. I smiled and sighed with this one!! I imagine I'll feel just the same if I end up with my kids (and future grandkids) back home with us!!

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    1. It's a mixed bag of emotions because you love the new freedom of being an empty nester…but then it's also terrific to be able to bond with the grandkids. My daughter is my best friend, so in many ways it is a blessing having her here under our roof again.

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  6. Being parents never ends, does it!

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    1. The same worries start all over again with the grandkids!

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  7. I'm in the same place as you. And I love it! I think I had an empty nest for about a week!

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    1. Uh-oh! How long have you been living with a full house, dare I ask?

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  8. Oh my. I'm just in the midst of the beginnings of becoming a soon-to-be empty nester, with my daughter moving on to college in August and my son is a Jr. so will be moving out in the very near future as well. Hadn't quite thought about what could happen after they graduate, and the potential that they might come back home with little ones! That would be quite a switch, one I'm not so sure I'd be so happy about, either! Although, to your point, the sweetness of those little ones is not to be measured. Enjoy the madness, hope you get back to sanity soon. Lovely post.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Claudia! I hope things quiet down, too. Once she finds her own place--if it's nearby, THAT would be the ideal situation!

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  9. Right now this all sounds lovely - but I haven't experienced empty nest Part 1 yet! I'm secretly looking forward to grandchildren - but that's a ways down the road (I think?). Have a sticky weekend :)!

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  10. Enjoy those sticky kisses. You may not have expected them to return but I bet you'll miss them more than you can imagine when they're gone.

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    1. You are so correct. They drive me crazy at times but I know they may not stick around town forever, so I need to appreciate every minute we share.

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  11. I'm sure you are blessing your daughter and granddaughter by giving them space in your home again. It isn't for sure to go back to "full time" little ones. Sending you wishes for lots of patience and joy:)

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  12. I can understand the frustration of your calm being broken, but I'd give just about anything to have a grandchild in my life. It's starting to look like that might never happen.

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    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry pt hear that, Stephen. Hang in there---you never know when things might change!

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  13. Exceptional post about your family and your love for your daughter and other children. Sitting down with your daughter in the evening and talking and reminiscing about when she was a child just growing up shows that you will always be a great loving MOM and the memories are priceless.

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    1. Awwww….thank you so much for the sweet words, Daniel. I do feel blessed by my family.

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  14. I have no idea what an empty nest is, but will take all the little kids I can get.

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    1. Come stay with me and help me deal with the chaos. But then again, we'd probably stay outside chatting in the garden the whole time….. :)

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  15. Oh boy. See, I'm already counting the years until the boy goes off to wherever he's going off to. I can't wait to be able to have a life. And then I worry, Oh God, what if he gets a gf in high school, and she becomes pregnant because the 2 condoms I've stressed he NEEDS to wear have a hole in both of them, and they all move in with me and I need to babysit while they're trying to get their GEDs, and my life that was supposed to start is over...

    Um yeah. In any case, you make it sound so much more delightful than the scenario I've created in my head.

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  16. Trust me---my thoughts have traveled down that same path with every one of my kids….and I'm not done yet. One more to go!

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  17. You're such a good mom and grandma! I know it must be quite a shock to the system when you're thisclose to freedom. I love the visual of you and you hubby sitting with a toddler between you drinking your morning coffee, watching Chuggington. Very cute and I bet those sticky kisses do make up for quite a bit!

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  18. My house went from empty to full and then back to empty and then back to full again and now it is going to be empty again as Kelli and Daemon are moving out

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    1. Wow! That's a LOT of moving back and forth!

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  19. Sounds like change is good. I miss my kids and wish they'd come back home. Their dad loves them 100% but does not (wish they'd move back home), hahahahhaa

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    1. Is certainly changes your life---but mostly for the better!

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  20. In the exact same position here, Marcia. Daughter and two-year-old granddaughter taking over the basement and quite a bit else. And I wouldn't trade all of the mess and stickyness for one moment of that so-called peaceful empty nest we used to have! IT'S SO WORTH IT!!!!

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    1. Wow--your situation IS similar! My granddaughter is also two. Interesting age. At least I'm not the one who has to take care of her at 3:00 am when she wakes up screaming.

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    2. That's definitely Mama's time for us, too. Whew!

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    3. Yeah, because we get to sleep in!

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  21. I love this! As I prepare to launch my daughter and accept my empty nest to-be, I have been dealing with a roller coaster of emotions. Recently, I became very sad about realizing how alone I will feel. I am however, looking forward to the uninterrupted Cialis moments! "They" keep telling me to enjoy the nest because inadvertently, they do return! I better get enjoying because they'll be back before I can say bye-bye!

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    1. That's right! Enjoy the peace and quiet while you can…until they ALL start flocking back to the nest!!

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  22. Awwww, this is such sweet and funny post, Marcia! Parenting just never ends. And someday we will be moving in with our children and they will be feeding, bathing, changing our clothes, and diapers. Life comes full circle!

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    1. So funny you said that because I was thinking the same thing when I wrote this!

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  23. I love this, Marcia! So funny and unbelievably touching and awesome. How wonderful that you get to experience your daughter and granddaughter up close like this - I know that when they move out, you will miss those toys. Maybe not the couch stains and odors though ;)

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  24. That ia a major change to deal with but you're a great mom and grandma first. Sure, it's cramping your style but sounds like the rewards are worth it for you. Well, mabe your hubs misses the cialis moments!

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    1. He DEFINITELY misses the Cialis moments!!!

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  25. Oh how you painted this picture so vividly... and the complete transformation of your home and your life is truly inspiring Marcia!!! All for the love of a mom. And a a grand-mom. Although it is a GREAT sacrifice, you clearly have your priorities straight, don't you?! Bless your heart!!!

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    1. They are my sun and moon and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them. <3

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  26. Hilariously, beautiful post.
    Fabulous, Vivid writing!
    One question though: Where will you make mad passionate love now? Xxx

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    1. We're going to have to wait for ALL the kids to fall asleep now and keep things very quiet…..

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  27. Good to see how the "other half" lives (the half that have children and grandchildren"...) It's a nice place to visit for those of us who choose not to live there :) I'm sure there is much joy in having a small child in the house again...as long as you don't mind losing uninterrupted sleep :)

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    1. Or that fresh dirty diaper smell wafting through the house before I've had my first sip of coffee, hahahaha!!!

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  28. Awwww, this is so sweet I feel like my hands are getting sticky. Oh wait, they are, we have 2 preschoolers here, too! I love when people say things like "Well, those kids keep you young!" Clearly those people don't know how young children work :) There IS a lot of magic, though!

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  29. Great article. it's Really Awesome. your Tips is Really Helpful for any Mom. Thanks.

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  30. I so loved this post. It made me so happy. Why? Because it always brings a huge smile to my face when I come across somebody who doesn't waste life; somebody who embraces each moment, even midst utter chaos in her life. My children are all grown now. And my husband of 38 !/2 years died on Oct. 27, 2012. I am not so young now, am 78, but well remember going through all you described when your daughter came back home. Even midst the most difficult times, the really painful moments when we shared our home with more than one child and their children, it was those precious little ones that made everything worth while. Their sweet giggles, adorable way of expressing themselves, seeing the world through their eyes filled our home with much joy. Your children are blessed to have parents who know the truth about what really matters in life.I hope today was full of wonderful new memories for your family. God bless you.

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    1. Your comment is so beautiful, Barb, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your precious memories with me. God bless you! XO

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  31. Your house sounds like so much fun! I want to stop by for some long talks and giggles. And, maybe to drop off my kids! (((hugs)))

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    1. I so loved meeting you at ERMA! Your stories made me crack up. I would LOVE to have you in my home as a guest. Just name a date!

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  32. I was hoping that your post would have a happy end :-)
    Some of my school friends' moms have a hard time because their grown-up kids wouldn't make them grandparents. And I always thought women of my generation suffered most from not getting pregnant.
    Also I understand the benefit of being the grandma is that you get to be less strict and spoil the little one(s)?
    My brother lives in Israel with his family, so my mom flies there twice a year. She appreciates to have her "Swiss grandson" nearby and witness every step in his development.
    Love the Mount Trashmore scenario ;-)

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    1. Absolutely---the best part is that we do get to spoil them and that when they act up, we can send them him to their parents! :)

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  33. Thanks for the post, This was exactly what I needed to see.Good list, keep up the good work
    best trampoline

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