‘The Empty Nest has its Ups and Downs’
By now you probably know more facts about The Child than The Child feels comfortable about you knowing. But she’s off in Boston making a name for herself as a software engineer and therefore can’t roll her eyes heavenward in ‘My Mom is Oversharing Again’ dismay. At least not where I can see her.
So I’m going to riff a little about ‘parenting’. First, let me make my distaste for terms like ‘parenting’ clear. The use of nouns as verbs (‘crafting’, ‘birding’, even ‘blogging’) tends to make my own eyes roll heavenward. I mean, if I’m ‘parenting’, is The Child ‘kidding’?
But I must admit that I rather like my new not-yet-trendy term ‘Yo Yo Ma’, which I will explain shortly. But first, have you heard of Snowplow Parents? The Gypsynesters, who write a blog nearly as hilarious as mine, describe them as parents who clear the way for their children, removing any obstacles that might actually challenge them. These Moms and Dads take care of any pesky stuff that might interfere with their kids’ happiness, like homework and term papers and college application essays.
According to Wikipedia, the term ‘Helicopter Parent’ has been around since 1969. I’m sure you know parents who hover, or maybe even done your share of same. Speaking of which, I read about a college that had to make a rule to ensure that parents actually left campus after dropping off their freshmen because they found this one Mom who not only slept in her son’s room for a week, but went to all his classes with him (!)
Well, I admit that The Dude and I did actually get in a car and deliver The Child and her belongings to college. But we didn’t hang around, not even to attend the ‘Welcome Parents’ festivities. Instead we did the sensible thing and headed to the nearest bar.
I guess non-hovering must run in my family. I remember that my mom drove me to college in the fall of my freshman year. But I was the oldest of five. By the time they got to Kid Number Four (my Beloved Sister Laura), my parents said ‘We’re too busy to take you to college; you’ll have to get a ride.’
So she did. And ended up marrying the boy who was nice enough to drive her. (Big shout-out, Beloved Bro-in-Law Dave!)
But the Mothers of all Hoverers must be these parents who go to the trouble (not to mention the expense) of sending their kids to boarding schools — and then rent or buy houses near said schools and move there. I mean, honestly. What’s the point?
Anyway. In spite of our relative lack of hovering (or snowplowing, for that matter), The Child has turned out pretty well. She’s even recently become a Contributing Member of Society with an Actual Paying Job (praise the lord).
But is she ‘gone’ from The Nest? Well. Not entirely. She has friends in New York, and parents who insist on seeing her at Major Holidays. Which means that just when I’ve become accustomed to the Nest being Empty, she comes back. Then, when I’ve recovered from the shock of a 23-year-old woman inhabiting My Child’s body and we’ve ‘grabbed some sushi’ and ‘caught a movie’ together — she’s gone again.
I’m up, then I’m down. I get back up…then down I go. I am Yo Yo Ma.
As my own ‘Ma’ would say right about now, ‘Sigh’.
Any of you Moms share this feeling? Did I get it right? Oh, for more Mom Musings, check the menu at the left. Or, for more about The Child — there’s even a little film starring Guess Who — skip right ahead to ‘Gone Baby Gone’.
I’ll leave you with this photo of the two of us on another holiday (the one at the top of this post was taken at a recent Christmas). This one shows us in our Mom-and-Child Easter finery:
New York City. January 2015