Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Don't throw out my lego

I was at the post office and in the queue I saw this. I was struck with a sadness that I had no little people to give them to. I spent a good decade watching Blue's Clues on video. And yes, I mean on video. My eldest got them when they came out but we didn't move on with Joe and the other presenters. When Steve went to college, we just stayed with the videos & DVDs that we had. We had the toys and all sorts of learning games. Each new baby would grow into them. As a result, I have a lot of fondness and nostalgia wrapped up in them as one kiddo has moved out and one is on the way. As a parent, you realise you have these precious moments that weren't precious at all at the time, but become so special in hindsight. I pointed the toys out to the adult child with me who just sort of shrugged and looked at me as if humoring my  'having a moment'. Evidently the memories weren't as special to him as they've become for me.


The high schooler in our house is very much an only child now.  While I'm very happy for the one that's moved out, I work to make time for the five of us to get together. It makes me so happy. The travel holidays are now just the three of us as the two adult kids are busy, but I'm thrilled to have a 2 night local getaway booked at Christmas with the whole family. I'm more excited about that than the overseas trip I'm booking in January!

My eldest had mentioned after a year of living out, she might come home when her lease is up so they could save some money before moving to a different place. I was so excited but tried to contain it, calmly saying 'whatever you need to do, there's always a room for you here'. However, that still seems to be a plan in motion. I think her partner is struggling with the rent but my child is not.  I'm not sure it's going to occur, as they are now 'figuring it out'. I'd love to have my house full again - in lockdown we were 6 (her partner moved in) so we had 2 extra years of their childhood so to speak. I shouldn't be greedy. At AJR, they sang this song, which I'd not heard before and it really tapped into my feelings. I said to my friend 'I know it's not their point, but this song means something totally different to me as the parent of a kid who has moved out'. What's anxiety and failure to one person, is a joyful gift to the mother now watching in the distance.

I was with a friend whose adult kids haven't moved out yet, and their family is going to Canada for a skiing holiday and then going their separate ways to different parts of the States with friends while she visits a cousin in Canada. Her eldest changed their plan and said "I might come with you' and my friend said no. She told me she wanted a break and some time to herself. I think that's the difference. Once they move out, you'd do anything to be with them. It's a luxury. I would have relished the opportunity!

Motherhood is weird. I am watching friends discover it's just them and their husband left in the house, even if the adult kids are living at home, they're rarely there. One said "We have to be friends now and do stuff together". Another said to me "So is this it now? What am I meant to do?" and another, who never really asked me to do stuff is now inviting me to plays and we are going to the theatre with an unprecedented frequency. I think this empty nest stuff is tough on women. We invest time and energy into our family life, but then to be a good mother, we also have to stand back and let them flourish on their own. I wrote about the strange emptiness in the house (in the family?) when she moved out. We've adjusted but the excitement and happiness I get when we're all together is indescribable. 

I left for college at 18 and never really moved back. It was such a formative and fun time for me, and I have to wish that for my kids. The child of a friend from College was going interstate to live on campus and she rang me saying "I've been telling everyone for months how great it will be for him and now I don't want him to go".  I pointed out it will be great for him, he'll love it but it won't be great for her & to remember she's the only one in the scenario feeling a loss, so be mindful not to taint his enjoyment. I reminded her it probably wasn't great for her parents when she did exactly the same thing. But that's the gift we give them, these loves of our lives. We give our life and soul until they don't need it, only there for when they want it. Erma Bombeck described mothers perfectly when she said "they’ve gone from supervisor of a child’s life to a spectator. " My friend has booked some grand prix OS holidays because she knows, just as she did, you start to find reasons you can't come home in the holidays when you're having too much fun on campus....it's all part of growing up. It's the part we don't discuss. We parents also continue to grow up, into a different sort of parenting....but we can be a bit sneaky too, in order to lure our families into being whole again, even if just briefly. 

So I will continue to celebrate the 'party of 5' when I get the chance, but keep working on celebrating their moving on as well. I don't want to be the parent that guilts their child into coming home for a visit. So I bite my tongue more often than not because I know my eldest would feel bad if she knew how much I'd love her back home.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” —Ann Landers

Linking with #WonderfulWednesday #FriendshipFriday #WeekendCoffeeShare #TrafficJamWeekend  #AwwMondays (a different Aww to usual but it makes me go Aww all the same - this time for me!) and #TheRandom

My Random Musings

20 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful essay. I really hits home. Our oldest daughter applied to college but at the last minute decided she wanted to take year off the "find herself." I already had plane tickets for the two of us Instead, I loaded up the car and said she had made a commitment and it was too late to change anything. We drove non-stop from Dallas to El Paso, Texas. I will never forget seeing her in the rear view window, waving a tearful goodbye. She went on non-stop, to collect not only her undergraduate degree but two Masters, teaching English as a second language on the side and having a full career as a speech pathologist. I remember Blues Clues but it was probably our grandchildren who watched it, as our kids were all born in the 1960s.

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  2. Lego was even a favourite when I was growing up. My mother got given a huge bagfull from my cousins as they didn't want theirs anymore as for blues clues yes I definitely remember it, my children use to watch it.

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  3. Dear Lydia,
    I think I'm a kind of weird mom. I love my daughter very much, but when she moved to a shared apartment at 16 to be able to do an apprenticeship in Vienna, I said, that's wonderful, and that was what I FELT. After completing her training, she lived in our house for a year or two again, and then she moved into her own apartment. I remember very well the time when I was young myself and moved into my first apartment, later living in a flat share, that was so important and so liberating for me, and I wished exactly such experiences for my child. Yes, it made the time we spent together more valuable and I also enjoy the visits from my daughter (now 29) and her family, but it's so nice that my husband and I are able to live our own lives again. Every now and then my little grandson (currently 10 months) is allowed to stay with us, then we enjoy being grandparents - and then we are happy again when we can recover from it ;-DDD
    All the best, have a nice Sunday and a happy new week!
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2022/09/strudlhofstiege-gartenpalais.html

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  4. PS: I'll link another summery post for you!

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  5. Your post has me feel all sorts of emotions which I find hard to explain. My parents more or less broke off contact with me when I was nineteen because I "had to grow up and learn to care for myself". I can understand your adult child feels differently about the possibility of having to move back in with you than you do, but I applaud you for opening your home to her. #dreamteam

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    1. I'm sorry - that didn't occur to me (re triggering other emotions). As I said below, our parents are products of their parents time & thinking, and so things they thought were 'right' we do differently. Take care of yourself and sorry if this was disruptive to you .

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  6. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to go to college and my father said no. All you're going to do it get married and have babies. I got my degree on my own. Best thing I ever did. My dad later told me he was sorry for saying that. It was the way of things back in the 50s and 60s.

    Thank you for joining the Awww Mondays Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Awww Monday and week. ♥

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    1. It was a big thing for your dad to admit that. We are creatures of our own upbringing. Good for you for getting the degree anyway. That's really admirable.

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  7. Our house in generational housing. Our middle and her husband live with us as does the youngest son who is single. We all get along and we also have our own lives. Our youngest daughter & her husband live across the country and our oldest daughter and her husband live two houses away from us. Our oldest son and phamily lives about 10 minutes away. Our one grandson and his little phamily moved around the corner from us a few months ago. Too many things happening too quickly in our world. Our oldest girl is dealing with her husbands inoperable cancer. Yet her two car garage is filled to the brim with a friends things as she was evicted. Another relative is going to be homeless as she shared a home with her ex and her youngest daughter. He is a flake and wants his half of the money from the house. So she is struggling to find housing. Her youngest daughter, in her thirties in recuperating from a complicated neck surgery. I lost my job in 2014 and it forced me into early retirement.I lost so much but I would never trade the tough times we experienced. Our great grandboy passed away from SIDS at 7 months old and let me tell you, we walked around like a bunch of ducks out of water. People like to avoid you when they find that kind of info out. It was so good to have each other to lean on. My husband is grateful daily that he still has his job and the world is swirling into troubling times to come. Businesses are going under in Colorado everyday. Price gouging in stores and so many people think you have a tree in the backyard to pluck money off of. We have an incredible homeless problem. Life is hard, I love my loved ones and pray harder. I think everyone's living arrangements are their own choosing, so live as you need to and enjoy as much as you can. Life is fleeting. If I started talking about those days are youngest went out of state to college I would need a week's worth of blog posts but those helped when I missed him terribly. I get it and women are more emotionally connected to their kids too. Just my thoughts and I appreciate yours.

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    1. Having always wondered about the generational housing when I was younger (the kid in the scenario), I think it would be lovely now (as the adult). Ha. I am very sorry to hear about the SIDS. Terrible loss. I can't imagine the devastation.

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  8. I've read your post a few times Lydia. It's so moving, and real. I love how positive you about letting go to enable the (big grown up) littles fly the nest, and of course welcome them back with arms flung open as and when it happens. I hope I can be as gracious as you, when the time comes. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeam x

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  9. I like just 2 roads away from my parents. They have kept everything from when we were kids and we are now sorting through it as my paretns have retired. It is wonderful to step into the past but things from 30 years ago are brittle and don't quite live up to the memories... Thanks for linking up with #dreamteam

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    1. Not that may be another post. Those things that we cherished being absolute rubbish when you find them later one...ha!

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  10. This was a lovely read and I totally understand your feelings. Living in a small rural town hours away from bigger centres our daughters had to move away after finishing high school and they knew that (and wanted it) but although I also knew it had to happen it was a bit of a wrench. My daughters all went working overseas for some time and one didn't come back, she settled in England and so we travel whenever we can and use technology a lot to see her and our granddaughter. Life has a way of showing us what's important and staying in touch with my daughters (almost daily) is a highlight of my life now (makes me sound a bit sad!) but it's how we cope with our children living long distances away. Their stuff is still here waiting for them to collect it! #weekendcoffeeshare

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  11. Lydia, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. It's an emotional time when children leave the nest. Sounds like you're handling it well. Take care.

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  12. Hi Lydia - you've said it so well. I was so proud when both our children stretched their wings and headed to the city for university. But, I think part of me thought they'd one day return to the countryside. That hasn't been the case, and while I'm very happy for them and the families they're creating, I must admit to feeling a little like a spectator at times. It's something that's been on my heart a bit recently (many years after their departure) and your words remind me that we can be happy for them , but also still miss them.

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  13. Hi Lydia - boy can I relate to what you're saying here! My youngest is the only one who has moved out. She moved out just after she turned 21. She's 27 now and I rarely get to see her. She has lived all over the place but is back in Brisbane now. I still don't get to see her much. I try and get her here for dinner at least once a fortnight. My fraternal twin sons turn 30 later this year and are still at home so I see A LOT of them. Yes I know! A lot of ppl think that's terrible that they still live at home at that age but I think times are very different now to when we were young and I don't mind having them here. They're also good to look after the pets when we go away! I also like that they're saving lots of money and will hopefully be able to buy their own homes, skipping the need to rent or share. It's a terrible rental situation out there at the moment. I do want them to get their independence and it will come, however I am not stressing about it. Life is short so I'm soaking up all the moments and what's meant to be will be when it's time.

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  14. I left home just after I turned 17 to go away for Uni and know how much my parents loved my brother and I returning home.

    I love this post as you've reminded me that my mum really does love it when I visit and stay now. We're close obviously but sometimes when she comes to my place I feel a bit hemmed-in. I know I don't need to entertain her but I guess it's cos she's out of her comfort zone. Whereas she's still in the house I grew up in so I feel very much 'at-home' when I'm there.

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  15. Times goes by so quickly, doesn't it Lydia? Our children are all grown now and have children of their own. I love the time we spend together. We are blessed that they all live close by. I must say I do like having the independence of an empty nest, but only because I have the luxury of spending time with my children and grandchildren on a regular basis. At times I do grow nostalgic for the era when I was the center of their world, and they mine.

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  16. Lots of nodding from me when I read this post. I can tell you how it feels from now being a grandmother to kids (adults) in their 20s. Strange. But loving them of course. It's a different ballgame even when they are back home. Ask me how I know. Our daughter came back with her husband but they were having some difficulties and that was VERY hard to know being in our home. I look at the books at the Post Office - bargain prices - and have given many to our grandkids over the years. Now, we are becoming less relevent over time.. we know it too. Thank you for sharing your post in the Wednesday’s Words and Pics link up for this week and being part of the #WWandPics Community.

    Hope to see you next week too.

    Denyse.

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