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Empty Nest

I will soon have an empty nest.  I will be an empty nester.  I may even experience empty nest syndrome.  This seems to be exacerbated if you have other symptoms.  Of course, I have them:  menopause and retirement.  I guess I should schedule my therapy appointments right now for the massive depression heading my way.

Empty Nest?

This all hit home in June. We attended a parent/student orientation at CAL Berkeley.  We spent a day and a half on campus preparing for the separation from our daughter. Along with useful information about academic pressure and campus safety, they put us in small groups to discuss our feelings.  You know what that meant — watching moms and dads get very emotional about their little chicks leaving the nest.  School wasn’t going to start for three months and these folks broke down in front of complete strangers.  I kept thinking this would all be better with a glass of wine.

I flashed back to my college orientation.  My parents dropped me off at college the weekend before school started and drove home. Ok, they actually helped me bring my stuff into my dorm room.  Then my dad made fun of my roommate, to her face, and then they drove home.

A University of Missouri study I read was encouraging. It found that “mothers talked mainly about their pride and joy in watching their kids make this transition and the relief they felt in seeing the fruits of their labor realized.”

And then, I heard about “The Boomerang Generation.” Don’t confuse this with cool Australian kids playing with a flattened throwing stick. Just when your well spent mental health dollars have gotten you over the grief, anxiety and depression of your empty nest – whoosh, they fly back.  About one third of them.  It is not that they want to come back so much, they just can’t support themselves.

I can’t predict the future, but I bet there are going to be new labels on parents and the next generation of kids.