Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Butterflies are free-part 2 of The Start of the Empty Empty Nest

When my husband and I first got married my mother in law told me children are like butterflies.  Once they grow their wings they will be set free and go off on their own.  Although she gave me this advise on our wedding day and was referring to the prospect of me taking away her only son,  I profoundly listened to these words and tried my best to always make her feel our presence in her life.  She was very fortunate to have all three of her children remain within proximity to their breeding ground.  Although one ended up moving to western Mass. she often would visit while the other two lived within a 6 mile radius of where they grew up.

In my nuclear family my parents ended up being the ones fleeing their nest when they migrated south to Florida and I was the one who remained behind.  My brother also moved out of state.  Now fast forward to thirty three years later and my butterflies have all spread their wings and moved away.  My husband and I still have our nest however it will officially be empty this week as we soon drive our youngest to New York.

Change has always been hard for me and writing gives me time to put my thoughts down on paper and allows me to find some perspective to my emotions.   Today is the official moving day.  My eyes are watering and I am hopeful to be able to contain my emotions and enjoy the move in.  I will update my blog once it is complete and further reflect on the move.  I find the transitions to always be the hardest for me and once I am on the other side usually do well.

Ironically almost 35 years ago I was the one moving to New York for my first job and my mom moved me into my studio apartment in Forest Hills.  It seems like just yesterday and I remember how excited I was to move to NYC.  At the time the song  New York, New York by Frank Sinatra was my motto.  I had an Internal Audit position with Dun & Bradstreet Corporation on Park Avenue and loved the excitement of being a part of the New York business professional scene.  I worked from headquarters but was able to travel to clients worldwide.  Coincidentally my daughter will have a similar role with a consulting firm located a few blocks from Grand Central and near my location.  In many ways I am excited to relive this stage again vicariously.  I now empathize with how my mother felt when I told her I was excited to move out to an exciting place from Newton.

I was fortunate to have my daughter spend the past month with us on the Cape and we had a lot of fun quality time including beaching, bike riding and watching Game of Thrones.  It was a great month with many packed memories.  We will soon embark on our four hour drive in a well packed car. For me the hardest part will be once it is emptied and then we return to an empty house.

 More to come in a few days.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The empty, empty nest

 I started blogging a bit when my youngest daughter was about to graduated high school in spring 2013.  My first blog was called "ihatch" and most of my posts were therapy to me fear of becoming an empty nester. We raised three kids each spaced about three an a half years apart with diverse interests.  They were involved with many extracurricular activities of which we often participated.

The night my daughter hit accept on her college decision at midnight on April 30, 2013 I subscribed to the Huntington Theater as I thought we would have nothing to do on our Saturday nights going forward.   We had close to eighteen years of weekends filled with middle and high school theater, ice hockey games, soccer practice, play rehearsals, cheerleading competitions, bar mitzvahs during the early teen years and much more to keep our schedules occupied.  I was then fearful that my husband and I would look at each other and have nothing to do.  On the upside, we have found more than enough things to do with our free time and have had great opportunities to travel and reconnect with old friends. There are some very positives aspects of having an empty nest but this soon can become counterbalanced. 

Since Michelle started college we quickly learned that we were the sandwich generation.  Although she would be "local" at Tufts this would be the first time our family of five had only two occupants in our four bedroom house.  In the first month of attendance at college,  my father passed away and we began to have elder care issues with my in-laws.  A few months later it became necessary for them to move to an assisted living facility. A year later, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and moved in with us for about 6 months.  After her passing about 9 months after diagnosis ( my daughter had finished her sophmore year in college) my father in law began dialysis and his health dimished as my daughter ended her junior year abroad.  

We have had four years of illness, downsizing and moving of parents, organizing elder care issues and all associated with the generation of parental care.  I have had hands-on experience with downsizing and helping my own elders transition towards more managed care living arrangements and have since earned the SRES designation in real estate.  I am now able to and willing to share what I have learned.

At this point, my youngest daughter just graduated college and will be moving to NYC.  My other two grown up children also live out of state, one on Brooklyn and one in San Francisco.  Since the summer our youngest started college we have also purchased a smaller townhouse property on the Cape that we could consider downsizing too in the future.  Our kids prefer to visit us on the Cape as their vacation and my husband works long hours when we are off Cape. 

As I have mentioned in other posts, like most baby boomers the cost to upkeep a large house should be re-evaluated.   I spend most of my time in the kitchen, bedroom and occasionally the family room to watch TV.  Each time I have to pay to landscape, mulch or do an internal repair I question our priorities at this stage and feel the money spent to maintain this type of house could be better used elsewhere.  My husband and I are at the stage of starting to reconsider large home ownership and I will blog about this process as it develops.  One of my goals over the next year or so will be to de-clutter and get rid of many of the contents in our primary home that we don't need at this point in life.  We have much too much. 

I admit, I am sad to have an empty, empty nest.  I look at young families and have so many fond memories.  I will probably cry when dropping our daughter off next week and am saddened by the fact that all three of our kids have chosen to live out of state.  My friends all say it is great that we will have nice places to visit and yes while that is true,  it does take money and coordination and will get harder and harder for our entire family to be together on a regular basis. I will be scouring for inexpensive airline tickets  every Tuesday and have set up price alerts to the west coast.  Thankfully New York City is only a four hour drive. 

All said and done,  I will have plenty of time to focus on my real estate business this fall and will welcome any referrals to keep my schedule busy.

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys writing about local events and issues near and dear to her heart.  Please visit her website or visit her Facebook page @wendybcb.