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I was brave this year, and didn't put out a single ugly ornament from loving small hands created years ago...DH & I are in the process of making new traditions for just he and I as a couple. Our children are all grown and most have families of their own and enjoy their own happy lives...the last thing they need is a sad and lonely set of parents feeling sorry for themselves on this special and wonderful day! So our gift to each other is to become great empty nesters who still love life and can be interesting people! LOL! We have great kids and grandkids and love the times when we can all get together, but because of time and distance, Christmas isn't one of those times at the present. It's been quite a journey to evaluate what things we want to do, without the kids at home...I'm having to learn how to think again as a person instead of just a mom...hmmm...so the ornament thing is major for us! While I still have a twinge of guilt lingering somewhere close to the tree as I walk by, I'm seeing the possibility of having a new career as a person in my own right...this is a process mind you, but I'm gingerly stepping onto the road and feeling hoepful? I'd love to hear some of your stories with Empty Nesting!

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Comment by Janet/MO on December 21, 2009 at 7:44am
I have really enjoyed reading these "empty nest" stories. I never experienced that feeling when my kids left home, but our youngest dd had to move back in with us when she was 5 months pregnant with her 2nd one. He was a yr old when they left & that is when both of us had a major case of empty nest symdrome! We both cried like babies for several days. Now we live 1500 miles from both our sons & 4 grandkids and about 400 miles from our oldest dd & her kids. However, we now live close to the 2 who used to live with us so that helps. I did put up my large tree this yr, but I must confess that I have cried some tears this season as this will be my first Christmas without seeing some of my grandkids. Last yr we moved from Las Vegas to Missouri the day after Christmas so due to the hustle & bustle of that we didn't really get to enjoy our last Christmas with those grandkids as much as I would have liked. I have promised my granddaughter Cheyenne though that we will do our best to go there for Christmas next yr so that is something to work toward. I agree with Cheryl that the best thing to do when our kids leave home is to not view it as an ending, but as a beginning of a new phase of our life! In our case we each brought kids in to the marriage so we never had a time alone until the last one left home so it has been kinda nice being able to devote our attention to each other & other things we enjoy doing.
Comment by Ronda on December 21, 2009 at 7:31am
I love reading your posts and how you've adjusted and made things work! It was a topic I never heard anything about until I've become a member...LOL! We're still pretty new into it, but I have a feeling we'll do great as time goes by and you start to develop new ideas and habits that don't include kiddies around. I look forward to this new chapter! It's interesting Cheryl that you commented about the special dinners and such...I put out the special goblets for brekfast this morning and thought to myself that I need to go shopping for more place mats and napkins in sets of 2! LOL!
Comment by Cheryl / NC on December 21, 2009 at 6:55am
Rhonda, No, empty nesting is not for sissies! We've been doing it for about 5 years now since the youngest one left. Though thankfully, 2 out of 3 of them are still close by. They have their own families, but we still get to spend time together and there is always time to come to Grandma and Grandpa's house. So I guess in a way we have the best of both worlds. We have enjoyed them being out of the house though! My husband and I have time together as a couple now, quiet nights by the fire, without a tv , warm dinners without having to get up to get something for someone else, nice dinners with wine and candlelight. Short weekend vacations to places we want to see, or just to the beach to relax for a weekend. We are enjoying it! It's hard to see the kids go, but it's also nice to discover again, there is a person inside who isn't "Mom". My kids had a harder time with that than I did! ;) Even after they moved out and had kids of their own, they don't always like it when mom and dad aren't around when they want to see us! I think they thought we'd sit around the house waiting for them to visit! Enjoy your freedom! Fall in love with your husband again, enjoy your time together! I think it's all about how you see yourself, I adore my children, and I LOVE being a Grandma! But I refused to be one of those who felt my life was over when my kids left. We just started a new chapter full of new possibilities, and we're having a wonderful life! I hope yours is too!
Comment by Pam/NY on December 21, 2009 at 6:43am
We've been in this phase for 15 yrs. Luckily, our son and family live here. The gds go to daycare...I just want to be grandma not babysitter. I still do full decorating as usual but it's more for us and friends. I gave my son his ornaments except the first one he ever made in daycare. They can do what they want with them. We plan events with friends who are in the same phase. We have a rule that Sunday is our day (a few exceptions)...sometimes we don't even get out of our jammies...we open a bottle of wine in the afternoon, etc. You do have to work at it in the beginning...but it becomes routine just like being a mom and wife all those years...volunteering helps bring you in contact with new people and experiences that open up new doors... Great topic...Merry Christmas
Comment by Gico/NS/CAN on December 21, 2009 at 6:11am
We have been empty nesters for a few years now. With each transfer, we seem to be getting further away from our son and his family. We now live thousands of miles away and cannot always get together for special occasions, Christmas, birthdays, etc... Each time we get together is a special celebration and we are really looking forward to their visit in March when they will spend a whole week with us. This year, we will visit on Christmas morning with our web cam - watch our young grand-daughter open her presents, and then on the 26th we leave for a week vacation in Florida.
Each December we celebrate the Season with friends and some of my husband's co-workers.
During the year, we call each other at least once a week, usually on Sunday night, just to keep in touch. It's not always easy, but I'm very thankful for all the modern technology which always us to easily keep in touch. Have a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2010.
Comment by vicki l childs on December 21, 2009 at 5:59am
I understand your empty nester syndrome, I have gone thru it for years. But two years ago after one of my daughters who was "never going to have kids" met a wonderful man and had two kids within 13 months,( yes you read it right). She lived 600 miles from us when she had the first one and then they moved here. So I have all my kids except one who is 400 miles away, within 7 miles of me. I have been blessed with grandkids. In the last year I have had 3 for a total of 9 grandkids. We still put the tree up with all our kids handmade ornaments from long ago. But I feel my life is in a good place and my daughter and her husband include us in so much of there life. Her husband is from the south and family is everything to him, so we are so blessed to be able to spend so much time with my daughter and her family. My sons who are married spend lots of time with there inlaws (its the daughter thing so I totally understand) I have more time to do as I want but it took a long time to get here, I remember how terrible if felt in the beginning but I think you become accustomed to it. After the kids left home is when I took up "sewing again". And since then it has become an obsession in less than 5 years it has taken over my life and I have a whole room dedicated to my "obsession" (see my post from yesterday about new years resolutions). But I find I am more at peace with things I am glad I am not raising a family in this day and time. I would want to take all the families back to the 50's when life was all about family . The only thing I wish I could do is slow down time, it seems to go faster and faster the older we get. But for now I will enjoy what we have.
Comment by Margo in Maine on December 21, 2009 at 5:22am
Each year is always a different scenario.....it has been a few years now....lonliness is not easy when family cannot be around BUT....just a few more days and it will be January 2010....find joy in each other and do something you would not ordinarily do....we are going to see a light 'set up' tonight....about an hour out of town...we took a group out for Christmas celebration....it does not really fill the void of family but does bring JOY....involving yourself with others is the key and being determined it is a new season and you will enjoy!! Blessings to you

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