Category Archives: Empty Nest

Children are grown, so much time, with NOTHING, to occupy your time…

The Complete Single Day, Life as a Single Parent


I’d been a single mother for five years, my son went with his father, and I have custody over my daughter.  After I’d had several honest to heart conversations with both our parents, as well as my children’s father, my ex-husband finally agreed, mid last year, that the older brother and younger sister could have four days out of the month to spend together.  And so, the very last weekend of the month, my daughter would head over to her father’s, and, these two days became my “single days”.

I’d gotten used to life with my daughter by my side, and, suddenly, from Friday evenings to Sunday evenings, I no longer had her company, her voice no longer resonated through the house, the bed became so spacious, it was, really hard, for me to adapt, I’d missed her so.  In order, to keep myself from missing her too much, I’d headed over to the office on Saturdays to work, buried myself in work; and on Sundays, I’d slept in, and take my leisure breakfasts, then, headed out, to ride, to hike, or to meet up with my friends.  And, all of a sudden, it came time, to pick my daughter up again.

During the two days my daughter was away, it was like an early onset of my empty nest, at first, I had troubles, filling up this void, but now, I’d gotten used to it.  And, life is just like so, when there came varied situations, we must all, make adjustments, to work, to transfer our attention elsewhere.

Recently I’d read the activities of the volunteers on the United Daily News, I’m going to sign up as a volunteer too.  I believe, that when my empty nest comes, or when I’m about to retire, I can already live this life I’d already planned out well.

So, your daughter going to spend the weekend with her father became your trial-run for your own empty nest, and, it is important, to have multiple hobbies, established, WAY before you’re retiring, or your empty nests really actually HIT you, because if you’d waited until then, to start planning it, well, it’ll be, too late then.

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Filed under Being Alone, Divorces, Empty Nest, Issues on Gender, Loneliness/Solitude, Loss, Moods, Emotions, & Feelings, Observations, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Women's Issues

The Coming of the Empty Nest

How to occupy your time, after the kids are all grown, translated…

The friends around me all slowly, marched into the empty nest stage of their lives.

A said, that her daughter went abroad to study for a little over two years now, her son is about to follow his sister’s footstep soon, it’d caused her and her husband to lose the focus of their lives all of a sudden.  B said, that her two daughters went to the southern tip of the island to look for work and to live, another child will be sent off to work, the workplace is too far from home, and he can only stay in the dormitory of the company.  C said lightly, since her child grew up, he’d told her he was going to volunteer abroad, to work-vacate, he’d rarely stayed put in Taiwan during the summers or the winter breaks, and right after her son graduated, he’d immediately gotten accepted to a grad school abroad, went abroad to pursue his studies.  D’s daughter went to work for a foreign airline, and barely made it back to Taiwan in a couple of months, and her son works in Thailand, from before, she’d focused her entire attention on her children, and now, she doesn’t know how she’s going to pass the time.

And my good friend, E had been planning this day for a very long time, before she retired, she’d taken up calligraphy and drawing, fitting to her interests, and she’d trained as a volunteer at the museum district, to work as a guide.  With her children growing up, leaving the nest, getting married, her husband followed her, other than taking classes to enrich himself, he’d also done tai chi at the park, exercised regularly, and gone on tours, and from time to time, they’d taken cruises too, or gone on self-help trips with a couple of good friends, they didn’t seem to be impacted by the empty nest at all, they’d even shared with the younger generations their travels using LINE.  The two of them are at home anywhere they are, as for the home that’s here, they’d filled it up with happiness, and they don’t feel that void.

This still just shows, how important it is, to plan out the times after your retirement, because there WILL be a shift in focus of your lives, with your children all grown up, flying out, if you can’t find things, hobbies, to occupy your time, you will surely feel that wave of emptiness attacking you, but, like this couple who’d jam-packed their schedules, that, is a great way of dealing with the empty nest.

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Filed under Empty Nest, Expectations, Family Matters, Hobbies/Pasttimes, Life, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Socialization

After You’d Made the Promise, You Won’t be Mine ot Look After Anymore

Is that, a HINT of loss, and, a smidge of empty nest that I’m sensing from you right now???

After you’d made the promise, you won’t be mine to look after, I will be, “handing you over”, to THAT guy, and, despite how he’s so lovey-dovey toward you, I still don’t really trust him, after all, WHICH man would TAKE someone ELSE’s love away, right?

After you’d made the promise, you won’t be mine to look after, and, I must, FORCE, myself to accept that it’s a FACT, that my baby girl is NO longer a baby anymore, but, in my mind, I’ll always and forever, see you as that young child with the pigtails, stumbling up the stairs, and, hollering out to me, for me, to read you just one more bedtime story.

After you’d made the promise, you won’t be mine to care for anymore, god, I HOPE that I’m the VERY last father on this PLANET who will be FORCED, to deal with this feeling, but, I know, that I’m not!

After you made the promise, you won’t be mine to care for anymore, I just hope, that he will love you, like I had, for the last part of your life, cherish my little girl, like I’d done, and now, I’m giving her hand, to you, son, DO take care of her, or ELSE!!!

After you made the promise, you won’t be mine to care for anymore, and, although, there’s this beautiful, intelligent, bright young woman who’s in a wedding gown before me, I still can’t help, but see her, in her pigtails, stumbling………


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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Empty Nest, Family Matters, Loss, Marriages, Moods, Emotions, & Feelings, My Thoughts on Various Issues, Observations, Relationship, Romance, Socialization, Story-Telling

Finding the Gem After Losing My Job

Coping with one’s empty nest effectively, and now, hobbies fill up the busyness of her days, translated…

Last August, my junior in college was accepted as a foreign exchange student to the Netherlands; in September, my son left Taipei, went to Chiayi for college.  My husband left early and came home late for work, and I’d become, seemingly “unemployed” as a housewife!

Every morning when I woke, I’d not wondered about what I’ll be cooking for supper, but instead, wheeling that dehumidifier to my son and daughter’s rooms.  How, do I pass this sparing time of my day?

My friends told me to get a dog, but without knowing, that I was, afraid of dogs, when I saw strays or someone walking their dogs, I’d stepped off to the sides, until they passed.  So, keeping a dog is not the way to make my life busy at all.

I’d gotten too bored, as I wandered into my daughter’s room, saw how her electric piano was sitting there, by the corner, so lonely, I’d allowed my fingers to glide across the keyboard, and I’d recalled my childhood too………

It was, about 1966, when my father went to the American consulting group and bought a pre-owned bicycle, gave it to my seven-year-old older brother as a present.  I saw a big black box, asked my father what it was?  Dad told me, “It’s an accordion that someone didn’t want anymore.”  Opened up the box, I’d touched the keyboard, and I’d played a familiar tune, “Funeral March”.  Later I’d found out that it was the theme song from Waterloo Bridge, that was often used, in times of goodbye.

The piano from my childhood days, in order to play, I’d have to step on the pedals.  I’d slanted my body, with my hands and my legs too, with the memories I’d carried, of the tunes I’d heard before, played the songs with one hand, one right after the last.

Since my son went to college, my husband became passionate about the saxophone, and I’d used my daughter’s electronic piano, to recall back the days of my childhood years, and I’d signed up for class.

The courses, from beginning to Christmas lasted ten sessions, and so, the instructor taught me “Silent Night”.  And, as she’d taught me, she’d commented, “You’re a quick study, other people had to practice the melodies, then the harmonies, and you can play both together!”  I’d smiled, and I owed my abilities to the funeral marchers who’d passed by my house, who became a sort of an introductory teacher.

During the time that my kids weren’t around, I’d changed the dishes that my kids enjoyed into the songs.  This accidental talent had, enriched my life, and, I was able to, change my sentiments of missing my kids into melodies, and I no longer felt sad anymore.

So, finding a hobby is still the BEST way to help one passes one’s empty nest, isn’t it?  And, this woman made the adjustments of roles from focusing on her family, to shifting the focus, BACK to herself, and now that her kids are all grown up, she can have the time, to pick up whatever hobbies she’s interested in but never had the time to pursue when her kids were still quite young.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Empty Nest, Expectations, Hobbies/Pasttimes, Life, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling

The Unexpected Empty Nest

Here comes, that emptiness, and, it’s finally, hittin’ ya, isn’t it???  Translated…

My eldest is a junior in university, is already prepping for the internship that he’d signed on for; my second child is in her last year of high school, and because she’s about to take the college entrance exams, she’s working hard, to study, and heads out early and comes home late; as for my youngest, is a first-year high school student, is still, trying to adapt to the new scheduling of the high school, busying in the extracurricular activities.

With my children growing up one by one, I’d finally have my own space, they no longer needed me to pick them up, it’d made me feel loss, and I’m having some minor difficulties, adjusting to this.

One day, I felt the spare times creeping up on me again, I was flipping the channels, aimlessly, using the remote, and I’d seen the ads for “Certifications of Hakka Dialect Abilities”, and I’d thought, now that I have all this spare time, and I’m of that descent, why not give it a try.  And so, I’d signed on, to take the tests, and, gladly, I was able to sail through the most basic level, to the most advanced without any difficulty, I’m really glad of this, because it proves that I still have the abilities.

With this brand new beautiful beginning, it’d increased my confidence level, and, ever since, I’d gotten really into taking examinations.  One day, my friend came over to hang out, and, in our casual conversations, she’d said, “the county governments would hold the extra exams for teachers, and, there’s the item of dialects, why don’t you try it, maybe, you can add one more identity to you.”

On that very night, I couldn’t wait to tell this news to my husband, after he’d heard, he supported me, he said, “honey, you’d worked really hard for this family for over two decades, and now, the kids are all grown, it’s time, that you started living for yourself, if you want to try, then, go on ahead, I will be behind you all the way.”, with his words, my heart felt settled, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.

On the day of the examinations, as I’d taken the forms I’d filed, entered into the testing place, “Wow, so many people!”, all of sudden, the courage it took, for me to sign up for the examinations came crumbling down.

My husband saw my unsettlement, held tightly to my hands, whispered lightly into my ears, “hon, you can totally do this!”

Thanks for the blessings, Lady Luck came to bless me once more, I’d gotten in.  As I was picking up my examination grades, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I can be a teacher now, I was so overjoyed.

And now, I’m busy, and fulfilled, other than working at the school, in my spare time, I’d also written articles, to earn the money for my submissions, and I’d published some Hakka children’s verses, wrote Hakka play scripts, and had taken my students to countless Hakka competitions, my life is really colorful, and fulfilled, and when my kids wanted to ask me out, they’d had to make appointments.

Thinking back, the empty nest isn’t as empty as we thought it would be, so long as you planned ahead, face it with courage, welcome it, then, you can have a fulfilled life during this period of your life too.

And so, this woman’s stresses was seen from the beginning, but, she’d decided, to NOT allow her empty nest get to her, she’d started fulfilling her dreams, and with the support of her husband, she’d managed her empty nest relatively well.

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The Simple Meal of Empty Nest


The stage never shrunk in size, it’s just that the actors and actresses started making their exits one by one, after twenty-years of marriage, my house formally marched into empty nest.  The originally rowdy and crowded four-people dining room table, it’s just the two of us, staring at each other without a single word now.  The fish swim leisurely in the tank, the news was being reported from the living room, the couch is unoccupied, the mosquito trap still turned on.  And so, we’d moved our meals, to in front of the television, and we sat, watching the repeated over and over reports.

From our too much leftover in the past, the foods were reduced, six entrées and a soup became just two to three dishes now, without the passions for a full-course meal, and, we’re both now, into eating healthy.  The chickens, pork, beef and lamb all made their grand exits, with the baked fish becoming our prime entrée, we’d started living like the elderly in the northernmost areas of the world, eating that salted mackerel, for the rest of our lives.

And I’d also loved broiling the veggies and add a few drops of sesame oil, and making the rice into porridge, and I needed to get a ton of pickled items, the small plates had a wide variety of items, canned tuna, a small amount of Chinese cheese, we’d eaten like the cats now.  The barleys that were cooked became sticky, the black rice melted, turning the entire pot into a lighter shade of violet, add in a few pieces of sausages, a few peanuts, and, the mixture of the cold and the heat from the foods, the salty, the sweetness of the dishes, all rolled down into our stomachs quite smoothly.

The writer once said, that if we eat a meal, then, we would have one less to eat, and so, each meal now, became so very precious to us.  From before I’d always had this heart of passion toward foods, but now that that’s all gone, and the symphony that was playing in the background, became a flute solo instead.  The rivers became separated as they reached the dams, and, the week passed by quickly, like the rolling hills now.  The drapes that were hung since a long time ago, you can’t see it being dirty, and even IF I’d managed to wipe that table down every single day, dusts still gathered on top, the days seemed to have halted.  The water kept being recycled inside the fish tank, the colors on the colored coins had been washed off into lighter shades.

In the afternoon, I’d steamed up a cup of floral or fruit tea, the scent of the fruits wasn’t at all strong, but, the imagination is, the yams’ leaves melted and became aromatic, gently consoled and touched my lips and teeth.  My stomach started rolling now, I’d had the choices of writing, or drinking my teas instead.  The atmosphere of the afternoon weekends is filled with this hint of sadness and loss, it’s an extension of the memories of my kids leaving home.  My depressed moods required a cup of hot tea, a few biscuits and I’ll be fine then.  Or, maybe, walking outside, and examine how my chilis are growing, the greens had turned to reds, and, should I wait around for the neighborhood kids to take some away, or, do I break them off the branches and take them inside?  H no longer take his hotpot items with satay anymore, it wouldn’t matter IF foods are spicy or not!

Don’t know when I’d started using smaller bowls for food, perhaps, I’d reduced my appetite or, am I, unintentionally suppressing my food intake?  No longer did I need to remind my children to eat their foods, my spirits, and my limbs became leisurely now.  Hearing the television blasting, or hold simple conversatioins with H, there’s no pressures for the three meals.  I’d read more now, talked less; the foods I wanted to eat had increased, but, my food intake, reduced.  Waited until the weathers turned colder, and I’d hoped for some warmth in the wintry seasons.

The space in the house became increased, my kids art pieces hung there, on the walls of the study—the cock that lowered his head, pecking up grains on the ground, the birds chirping, holding conversations in the autumn, the stars and the moon in competition to shine, along with that lily pond in oil……..on the opposite wall, there hung a picture of the shores, slanted, with the rocks making the coastline jagged, the blue sea and the blue skies reflected one another, a few of Kyle’s childhood pieces made such a huge whirlpool inside of me.  The seasons passed by outside, the leaves on the trees reminded us of autumn, and I’d started longing for warmth now.  When the room gets too stuffy, I’d opened up the windows, let the wind in, as the weather turned colder, I’d close the windows, and light up the Christmas trees.

My memories became like the leaves, as the time came, leaf by leaf, they’d all fallen out.  From before H needed the meats in his diet, because that, was how his father was, and now, this desire had been reduced greatly, he no longer enjoyed tearing the meats with his teeth apart that much.  I’d turned my appetite toward the seas, crabs, shrimps, mussels, my mouth and my hands worked together, and I’d needed to have everything inside, to feel satisfied…….

The staircase became dimly lit, and before Kyle left home, he’d installed a sensor light next to the bathroom sink, as I’d walked close, the light came on, and, my facial expressions imprinted onto the mirror.  The image in the mirror was seemingly familiar, yet very strange, with the noises dissipating, and the serene and the silence, piling up.

Eating in front of the television now, chewing the repeated news, and the foods, entered into our stomachs, and our lives keeps on marching forward………

This, would be a worst-case scenario of what empty nest looks like, because this mother had focused her life previously on taking care of her son, and now that the son’s gone, she couldn’t develop a hobby, she just lives from day to day, waiting for her time to expire, it’s really sad, if you live like that…


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Filed under Connections, Coping Mechanisms, Empty Nest, Life, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Properties of Life

Using Romance and Reading to Help Me Pass the Empty Nest, the Growth of a Woman

This is how someone occupies her time, coping, with her empty nest, translated…

In October, my eldest son went into the service, following in the footsteps of his older sibling, my youngest also went up north to college.

Being a full-time mom for over twenty-years, I’d raised my sons up on my own, the most satisfaction I got is nothing more than to see them all grown up.  The details of their coming-of-age, their childish talks, their naughty behaviors, they’d filled up my every day.

Six, seven years ago, I’d watched my eldest with his backpack, I shockingly realized, that this once-in-my-arms child is now, al lot taller than I am now.  Counted the days, this autumn, three of my babies will fly the nest, and the originally rowdy house, will become, all of a sudden, quieted.

My husband had always been busy at work, and my life circled around my children, after they leave home, I will feel awful that’s for certain.  Plus, I’d heard of how a LOT of the full-time mothers meeting up with menopause and their empty nests, and how lost they’d felt, anxious and depressed too.  In order to prevent this predicament for myself, I’d prepared ahead of times, hoping that I can have a happy, a fulfilled empty nest.

Back then, I’d started learning from my second son, how to use the computers, and, after I’d learned how to use the computers, I’d started searching for information on continuing education, whether it be the government funded or private sectors, the talent classes, I’m interested in learning more about, then, slowly, I sorted through and found the ones that interested me the most.

After a couple of years of trying things out, English, Er-Hu, bonsai cultivating, and drawing became the focus of my life, luckily, I’d gotten the support of my husband, and returned to school once more.  And so, I’d transferred from busying with the kids, to finding out what I’m best at doing.  As the empty nest came, looking at the three empty beds my kids used to sleep in every single night, I couldn’t help, but feel that strong sense of loss, and still, taking up these new hobbies, learning new skills, had made my sense of loss seemed easier to handle.

Still recalled the night before my second child was to head off to college, he’d said to me, “Mom, you must live well, that way, I wouldn’t have any worries.”

I’d smiled and told him, “Mom will be fine!” and I did just that, I’d worked hard, living my days to the fullest, watched for my own health, so my children can focus on their studies, with NO worries about home.

At the end of August as my second child was about to return back to school, he’d told me, “Mom, you must get along well with dad, that way, our minds can be at ease”.  I laughed, “okay, I know, mom will work hard for your sakes.”

“Don’t do it for us, for yourselves!”, my son said to us, seriously.

I reassured him, “Okay, we will, keep on being in love”.  And so, I must go out on dates, and be in love with my husband too, in my empty nest, seems like I won’t have ANY time to worry at all then!

And so, this, is how women manage, to fill up their times, and sure, they’d still feel that sense of loss, as the children grow up, and leave the nest, but, we’d eventually be able to find things that can help us occupy the time.

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Strong Sense of Loss


She’d lost her baby tooth, and she cried like HELL in the kindergarten.  The teacher couldn’t find out why she was crying so hard, she’d written it down on the assignment books.  As she arrived home, her mother became worried, held on to her, asked her what’d happened.  “I didn’t look after my things.”, she’d told her mom.  “Mom, please, don’t be mad”, two strings of pearls, started falling from her round face once more.

Later, I kept trying to find it, finally, I had, I’d hide my baby teeth away in a small box, that box was made of plastic, translucent, with a rusty chain hanging from it, might have been the box for some sort of toys before.  I’d opened up the box, and, ALL of my baby teeth were there, in rows, and smiling back at me.

I excitedly showed the box of baby teeth to her mom, as she took a look, her face sank, used her cell phone to call her up, “where are you, young lady?  It’s late, and you’re NOT coming home yet?”, her mother would often scream at the phones late at night, because we couldn’t find her often.

And so, the first part, the loss is the child’s, and the next part, the narrator’s, and that last part, it’s the girl’s mothers, because the mother felt that she has absolutely NO control over her own child, now that she’s slowly growing up, it’s something that ALL parents MUST learn to deal with, and, it’s time to let go already!!!

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Filed under Cause & Effect, Childhood, Empty Nest, Letting Go, Loss, Parent-Child Interactions

For Parents, It’s Hard to Let Go

From the New York Times International Weekly that came with the papers today, written by: Tess Felder

As teenagers set off for college, there is so much to be done: the packing, the organizing, the getting them there and settled in.  But when the checklist are checked off and the bustle dies down, parents are left with a question: What do we do now with this extra time and empty space?

One thing parents should do, experts say, is recognize the loss and grieve properly.  And this goes for men as well as women.

Writing in The Times recently, Liza Mundy reflected on the subject after she and her husband returned from taking their daughter to college.  What struck her, she wrote, was that her mother-in-law had called to sympathize with her as a mother.  But what about fathers? “The empty-nest transition is harder on fathers than conventional wisdom might have us believe,” she wrote.  One friend who shed tears the night before driving his son to college told her, “I don’t think my dad, one of the Greatest Generation, did anything of the sort.” The difference these days is partly that many men are more open about having such emotions, and partly that they have had the benefit of playing a more active role in their children’s lives along the way.  Since the 1960s, American men have nearly tripled the time they spend with their children, from 2.5 hours a week to 7.3, according to Pew Research Center data cited by Ms. Mundy.

And now there are many more ways for parents to stay connected to their children who are living away from home.  Ms. Mundy’s husband, for example, now sends his daughter a brief e-mail every morning.

Then again, some parents not satisfied with a mere daily message are choosing a different approach: When their children move out, the parents move in with them.

Writing in The Times, Penelope Green explained that some parents are buying or renting houses or apartments to be close to their children at boarding schools or colleges.

“Families, particularly affluent families, have the ability to be family-centered in their choices of where to live,” Ruth Kennedy Sudduth, director of the residential division for a high-end real estate brokerage, told Ms. Green.  “It is a quest for meaning and a better life.”

That does not mean these parents will still spend every weekend with their children, though.  Nancy Garcia Ponte of Rhode Island, moved into an apartment near the boarding school where her daughter is a freshman.

The school encourages local parents not to spend time with their children for the first few weeks, to give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings.  “And they only get two weekends away per trimester,” Ms. Garcia Ponte said.

Of course, if parents can’t get their children back in the house, there is another option: pets.

This, Julie Salamon wrote in The Times, is how she ended up filling some of the emptiness in her home.  Just days after their daughter left for college, she and her husband got a puppy.  “The reason, I persuaded my husband, was to help her younger brother feel less alone—even though we already had two cats,” she wrote.

They did not bring home another pet when her son left for college five years later (one cat and the dog still remained), but she held on to the feeling that animals can help a house in transition feel like home.

“Now the dog and the cat crowd onto our bed, the way the kids used to,” she wrote.  “Animals may not replaced humans, but they fill the gaps people leave in their wake.”

And this, is still, the EMPTY NEST, comin’ on too strong, and, using P-E-T-S as a diversion is still NOT a good way to manage if you ask me (but hey, who asked Y-O-U, right???), the point is, you NEED to reconstruct your minds, and prepare yourselves ahead of times, and just keep on telling yourselves, that those babies that were in diapers won’t stay in their diapers too long.  Reconstruct your minds, then, everything else will be fine!

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If You Take Care of Me, Then, I’ll Come Back Home, on Parent-Child Relations


I’d raised two daughters, six years apart.  After my eldest graduated from college, she’d worked for about six months, then told me she wanted to head over to Australia for a Work-Vacation, I wasn’t against it, I thought, that she’s a foreign language major, she should head to various foreign countries to broaden her horizons.  So, this February, my eldest took our blessings, and headed over to Australia, and is expected to be back in a year’s time.

My youngest daughter, in the start of August, got into a public university on the southern tip of the island, and now, she’s like a baby bird, with feathers all grown, about to leave the nest, and nobody can stop her.  My youngest daughter would meet up with her high school friends every single day, and would head over to the high school, to have conversations with her school teachers and the disciplinary officials, she hoped that she could reflect off of their experiences, and give herself the help she needed, for them to offer her some sound advice on college life.

One night after supper, my daughter started calling up her classmates on her cell, started talking about their plans for college.  They were laughing and having a grand time, it’d made my husband, who was sitting close by, feel bad.

I can understand how my husband felt about his youngest daughter, about to leave home, his heart is unwilling, and, yet, he must let her go.  But I know, that things we can’t prevent, as parents, we should learn to open our arms, and change our attitudes, and work hard, to help our youngest daughter to adapt to her own independence.  I think, that, is what we, as parents, must learn to manage, and master.

A bit later, my husband walked up to behind me, said to me, grimly, “A little while ago, I’d LINED our eldest, told her how her baby sister was about to head off to the south to school, that the house will become very quiet, it’s just me and mom.  And guess what she replied?”

I hadn’t the time to answer or to think, he’d said, “Your eldest told me, ‘if you take care of me, then, I’ll move back in.’”

And so, these two girls KNEW that their independence is very important, and, even though the parents are unwilling to let go, they still must, because baby birds are all grown, and ready to take flight, and you just CANNOT keep them bound, they’re BOUND to strike out on their own, besides, it’s a part of the growing up process.

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