Empty Nests and Setting Limits

Our empty nest has happened in more than one phase, as it does in most families with multiple children.  First our oldest son flew far, far from home…from Iowa to Seattle, WA.  He was always a very mature boy, and although it was very, very sad to have him living so far away, and there were lots of phone calls on how to do this and that, we knew he would figure out the whole adult world and do great!  Last week when we moved our younger son out of the nest , I realized this would be a totally different experience!  He moved only a few miles from home…to a different zip code, but only about 15 minutes away.  There was no clean separation, no sad goodbye, which was great, but guess what I am doing today?  I am going to sit in his apartment from 12:00-4:00 waiting for the internet guy to come and hook up the internet!  Our first child had to figure out how to do things like this on his own…of course he had a much more flexible job so that helped.  This brings me to my real thought, which is setting limits.  With this little bird still so close to the nest, I think it is going to be very important to set some limits.  He is going to have to realize that my time is valuable too, and just because I am home during the day does not mean that I am not busy.  Because neither he nor his roommate could get off work for this appointment, I agreed to fill in, but I also made it clear that this was a huge imposition and not something we would be repeating.  We have always enjoyed the close relationships we have with our children, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.  But, we also value independence, both in our children, and for ourselves.  This just goes to show that although the nest may be empty, the life lessons and boundary setting continue with our now adult  “baby birds.”

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