Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Could you move from an empty nest to a full one?

I've told you before that Mike and I are 6 months apart in age.  I was 53 in October and he'll be 53 next week.  (Yes, it kills me that I'm the older one, and he's so kind to remind me of that fact all the time.)  I've also told you that I had kids early, not Appalachian early, but I was 20 when Christopher was born and Courtney came along less than 13 months later.  Do the math; they're now 33 and 32.   (BTW, I was 23 when I finished my bachelor's degree--I was pretty driven even back then.) 

So whereas my motto was always "Free at 40," most people my age are emptying the nest right about now; the majority of my friends' kids are in college or a few years out of school.  But Mike had his kids later in life; they're 15, 10 and 6.  We're talking kindergarten.

When I tell people I'm living with a man with young kids they think I'm crazy. Their knee-jerk reaction invariably is, "Oh, my God!  Run!" and not one person has reconsidered their initial response.  I can still see the look on one friend's face when I told her I'm in the step-mom role to these little ones.  She'd just driven her youngest to his college dorm 150 miles away and I swear, her reaction was the classic "recoil in horror" combined with a look I can describe only as a throw-up burp.

I understand.  I admit that with every passing stage of my own kids' development, I was just as happy that they were one step closer to independence.   And I'll also admit that I'm not a "kid person."  I love my own and I adore my grandchildren, but I don't naturally gravitate toward kids.  Mike and I are very different in that way.  Everything a child does is nothing short of magical.  If we see a kid acting up in public he'll say, "Oh, the poor thing, I wonder what's making him so unhappy" and I'll be like, "Shut that f*cking brat up or I'll have it beheaded."  Niiiice.

Fortunately, Mike's kids are adorable.  They're cute and well-behaved and I love them.  But kids are kids no matter how good they are.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the house we're in is not laid out well and there's no place to escape the non-stop video games, which drive me insane (short trip, I know).  My Linda Land sanctuary a few blocks away has been a godsend; that was definitely a smart move and worth every penny.  I spend a few hours a day there in peace and quiet, with no TV and everything in place just the way I like it because I'm such a friggin' fuss-budget, and then come home refreshed and renewed.

I'm doing what I can to find balance, but the reality is we'll be 65 years old when the youngest graduates from high school and nearly 70 when she gets out of college.  I won't lie to you; there are times when I do that math and just want to burst into tears.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  After emptying your nest once, could you ever live in someone else's crowded nest?  If you've done it already, any advice?


Anonymous said...

Linda, think about all the times you would say to me "I can't believe you have a kid the same age as my grandson!" Think about it...you now have me beat!! Love you!


Anonymous said...

I can't really answer this since I do not have kids of my own. But I can say...going from having no kids around to having LW's girls around...has been a huge adjustment. I now see why LW doesn't want anymore children. At 45 years old having a baby doesn't sound appealing to him. Can't say as I blame him. Because in 6 years, the youngest will be out the door.

Good luck!

Great idea on the 'home away from home'. :-)

Mimi said...

No way would I go back to the full nest! well, mine's still full, but this year will begin to empty as eldest starts college.
I dream of a sanctuary, white/cream carpets (no mud!), everything just so, no laundry etc. And I'm same age as you, BTW.

Debbie said...

Linda my love, I married at 39 to a man with two girls, 9 (with Downs Syndrome) and 11. I had no idea what I had taken on. I never had children of my own. Like you, I love the little ones in my family, nieces and nephews, but I'm not a kid person either. It seem no matter where I am, there is a screaming kid right behind me. Anyway, the oldest stepdaughter has been living with us for the last 2 and a half years. She is 26 (27 in August) which to me is just too fucking old to be living at home. She is a ... I cannot even describe the degree of slob ... Have you seen Hoarders? Like that. THANK GOD she is moving in May. I cannot wait to have my home/my husband/and clean surroundings once again. You are brilliant having your apartment to "get away" to. Like I've said in my blog ... sometimes I think the best think to do when you're married is to live next door to each other. His house can be a filthy mess and yours can be nice and tidy.


Vegas Linda Lou said...

Oh, Deb, I love you! I cannot bear the thought of kids still living at home in their mid-20's--I don't know how you do it. I guess that's why God invented alcohol.

Jamie in PA said...

We never had kids. Just our choice. I love my nieces and nephews but take them home. I think having your own sanctuary is a marvelous idea. Maybe I will have one away from the hubby...LOL!

chocolatecovereddaydreams.blogspot.com said...

When I was with Boo, we had his daughter with us every other weekend. I have to admit that I adore kids but there were times when I just wanted to breathe without her saying, "Momo, what are you doing in there?"

If you truly know in your heart that Mike is the one, then having your respite place is a great idea!

At this point, I just want someone special in my life and if he has kids, I'm willing to love them just as much as he does.

Tricia said...

I couldn't do it...my ex had two kids that were 4 and 6 when we hooked up. Within a few years they were living with us full time. When we broke up they were 20 and 18.

My dating criteria included "no kids under the age of 18". I had just raised someone elses kids and wasn't about to do it again. My hat's off to you Linda. Good luck

Tricia in Champaign

Anonymous said...

Well...let's see...I had an (almost) empty nest for about a minute and a half....my 2 daughters both moved back home...oldest due to the economy...her hubby lost his job...younger due to divorce...between the two of them, I also got 3 grandkids and 2 dogs & one son-in-law...my youngest (son) claims he wants to move out...however...I am not seeing any progress in this area...maybe I'm too damn nice!! LOL...I must admit...have my grandbabies here every day makes up for the crowded living conditions and the wrangling over who gets to use the washer & dryer and when and for how many loads, etc...unless the economy takes a HUGE upturn...I probably won't EVER have an empty nest. I sure am jealous of 'Linda Land"!!
Tracy from Chicago

deb said...

Sometimes my partner & I just stare catatonically at brochures of Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
We dream about having even just 3 days to ourselves. Oh to be able to snorkel, get p*ssed and sit, quietly farting into the sand!
Our babies are 2 & 4. He also has an 8 yr old by a truly messed up, fantasist.
Kids are great and restricting in equal measure.
I think, as long as you are not a 'kid hater' and have your blessed sanctuary (I'm soooo jealous), as long as the mother of the kids is human and not a complete emotional blackmailing, lying, slovenly, toss pot, then you should be ok. That just makes everything worse. Believe me!
Good Luck! ;)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I'm lucky that Mike's ex is awesome and there's no drama in that department. I truly like her.

Rob-bear said...

Back into a full nest after an empty one? Cannot fathom that. But I'm 65 and retired; my wife is 64 and retired. At this age, a nest for two is my goal. So far, it's working pretty well.

I'm not in a position to offer any advice, except to consider carefully the situation you're about to enter. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

Linda Lou, we must chat... far too much insight to share via text (my fingers are delicate and tire easily Lol). We must have Julie connect us! Elizabeth

Joyce said...

Great to hear that the Mom is sane! No. The kids probably don't like being with you anymore than you like being with them. No one loved their children more than I, but it doesn't transfer to others. We do long for grandkids and really enjoy observing beautiful, bright children in grocery stores located in upscale neighborhoods where beautiful, bright parents shop. Learned about my inflexibility with this issue when I tried classroom teaching at age 40 something. All my life thought I wanted to be a teacher; but, since I was neither a nun nor nineteen years old, I sucked, was exhausted, and was not the best option for those kiddos that were nothing like me or mine--all a big surprise to me. I didn't marry until I was 30 and my hubby was 31 (he had never married, either. Get over that 6 month difference, I have friends that are from 1-10 years older than spouses--you look and act younger). We have been together 30 years and adore one another and our kids. But, I miss my solitude. I really missed it the 18 years I stayed home with our darlings for the experience of a lifetime. So many contradictions; but, I envy your personal hideaway. We are CRAZY about our empty nest. No hormones is a wonderful state of being. The sex is fabulous and frequent and on demand. Don't have to cook, clean, eat, shop, etc. unless I want. But, don't lose such a great guy. Go ahead and merge, with your feelings out on the table, boundaries clearly defined, and your terms no secret (but be open to flexibility--you might surprise yourself and change.) Good luck and every happiness!

Julie D said...

" She'd just driven her youngest to his college dorm 150 miles away and I swear, her reaction was the classic "recoil in horror" combined with a look I can describe only as a throw-up burp."

Was that me? LOL

Um no, at this age (yes people, I can admit I'm FIFTY now), I have no desire to raise someone else's kids. The next children I want spending the night in my house will be my grandkids, and even then not for a minimum of 5 more years or more!

I'm beyond thankful that the LOML (Love Of My Life) has no children. It's working beautifully for us!