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harmony 06-08-2002 05:49 PM

My empty nest is 10 years overdue!
Sometimes the empty nest can be threatening. I will never know how I would have reacted if it had happened back when the kids were graduating, getting jobs, getting married, etc.

All the kids were married between 1985 and 1991. But '91 was also the year the first 2 grandkids were born. I can't describe the surprise when the daughter who "always wanted to be just a mom" informed me she was going back to work after the baby was born. I know! I brought it on myself. But I just couldn't stand the idea of the baby going to daycare or a sitter. So I watched her and even home-schooled her for a while.

I eventually ended up watching 3 grandkids full-time over the years. Plus all the kids complete with spouses and their kids came back to live with us for various reasons (waiting for a house to be built, looking for jobs and a home after moving back from another state, living with us for five years after the husband of one daughter left her and the baby). Praise God she remarried and has a wonderful marriage now after some initial problems. And the miracle is that when they were staying with us, we all got along.

There have been no breaks for us since '91 and we are not done yet. The 3 yr old we watch now will be with us till she starts kindergarten.

Do I regret the time I have spent on the family? No. I can honestly say the rewards have been greater than the inconveniences. The kids have been hand-raised in the family and we are very close to them. The investment in their lives will bear fruit.

Are any of you in the same situation? I would enjoy "chatting" with you about things like keeping the kids busy, discipline, finding time for my interests, etc. I's love to hear from you.

ladydove 08-22-2002 11:27 AM

Kind of ----- Last year our son, his wife and their two children moved in with us. My son was still paying off some big bills left from his first wife, then was involved in a tragic accident soon after this marriage - left them in a terrible financial bind. However, after several months of them living with us, we decided to take from our retirement fund and "help" them live in a place of their own - for our sanity! They are both working at WalMart close to full time, but that does not mean much per hour for a family of four - and they are going to college full time. Thank goodness their CCCS (my husband was a financial counselor at the time recommended that they get on with CCCS to get the bills lined up and paid) is all paid off this November. That coincides with our available money running out and they should be able to be on their own - except for the "unusual" expenses - such as auto repairs, etc. We felt that what we provdie for them each month is not a whole lot more than the food, extra utilities, etc would be. We do take care of their children (10 and 3) when they have class or work in the evenings or weekends and DayCare for Gage is closed.

I had retired from my banking job to care for my youngest daughters' baby 6 years ago and continued on when she had her other girl two years later. She had just moved to a job where she could do all on her own (divorced with a most of the time "dead-beat ex" on "intensive probation for non-payment of child support), my husband retired, and we thought we finally had the "empty nest" thing.

As I look back, we started with our first one in 1964 and have had a child in our home - though now part time - for almost 40 years! I would love to chat with you, too......

harmony 08-23-2002 02:37 PM

Thank you, Linda, for responding
I can really identify with what you have been through. That was very brave of you to help them from your retirement! I hope it won't cause you any problems later.

How was it with the kids around the house? Do you enjoy being with them and did you spend much time with them? Was it a lot of extra work? That is so sad about the "almost deadbeat" dad. That inconsistency can keep a person tilted, never being able to depend on him.

Like you we started parenthood in the mid-sixties (1965) and have had children in the house constantly ever since. But the "end/beginning" is in sight for us since the one we are sitting now is starting school. I can hardly get ahold of not having kids around the house all the time! Of course, next summer is another story!!!:rolleyes:

We have found many ways to help our kids who are in their own home and still help them stay independent (that is, out of our house). We helped them with groceries out of our pantry and gas for their car to get to work for a week till his bonus check came in and they could make an overdue house payment.

We went way out on a limb for one daughter, though. We took out a second on our house which they have faithfully paid for. They were so deep in debt they wer going under--even considering bankruptcy. By consolidating everything at half the interest they were paying, they are finally doing OK. The loan has to be paid to the bank; if we had just loaned them money out of our savings or something, I am not so sure they would have been so good about paying.

I will be praying for you and your kids that they will be able to provide for their own needs and that you and your husband will not suffer from the help you have giving them. God bless you.


ladydove 08-23-2002 06:23 PM

thank you! We will keep your kids in prayer, too. Yes, I believe that if there is any way to help them to be independent, it is best for all concerned. Not only the parents, but the kids. Their self-esteem for one big thing. And if they do not learn what happens when the parents are no longer around - or able to provide. I think we will be fine - retirement wise. While we did not have a lot - with raising 4 kids - and with the darn stock market as it has been the last couple of years, it is less than I would have liked, but we are not big spenders, and we shuold be OK. We take "cheap" vacations to some time shares we have bought at good prices and go to races, and some local area concert series, but that is really all we do. Our vehicles are a 92 Buick, an 88 pickup and a 74 Duster - we drive them to keep!

I am so very glad that your daughter has faithfully paid on the second. That is a scary thing to do! Our son went with CCCS - Charles had worked with them a lot in his job on post with ACS - anmd knew they were good. I also commend Michael that he was willing to go to them and has stayed with it. He pays off in Nov. That is when we will stop the help - most of it at least - as they should be able to pay their own rent and utiltiies with the money they were paying CCCS.

As far as our daughters girls, YES - we really enjoyed them. Since we almost raised them with Melanie working the shifts she worked, we trained them as we did ours. I am not sure if that makes the difference in her kids and Michael's, or not. It also may be that we are a couple of years older and just do not really want to babysit on a regular basis. Michael's daughter was 6 when they got married and Gage is just a busy, busy little boy! But, they have Gage in Day Care during the day - we take care of evening shifts and classes and weekends. We keep our plans for races, concerts, time shares, etc and they know they have to mkae other arrangements for those. They both are working so hard for their degrees and we are very proud of what they have accomplished - with the setbacks they have had.

I have added you to my buddy list - lets stay in touch so we can celebrate our kids independence!^^

harmony 08-26-2002 07:14 AM

That is so nice that you have a great relationship with your granddaughters. That is what made the situation easier when I had so many living with me for a while. I am not unhappy with the way I raised mine but I am older and wiser now and find I can contribute some things to the grandkids' lives that are worth while and they seem to love the special attention.

As much as I love and enjoy the kids, I am getting tired of the "custodial" end of childcare. Diapers get changed by parents all the time now. The same with feeding and general wiping up. I spent years doing all those things with mine and GK's and now I just want to quit.

My TO DO list is loaded today so I had better get to it. Also my granddaughter needs a bandaid. Have a great day!


ladydove 08-26-2002 08:50 AM

I sure do understand! Think it is time for all of us to be able to enjoy them without all of the work. Since Melanie moved, we do not get the girls too often, so we try to have them a couple of times over the summer. She is 2 1/2 hrs away - actually wish it was some closer - as we do have a wonderful relationship with them. With my son's kids, too, but not as close as with Dana and Fiona - maybe because we virtually raised them. Dand and Fiona come in running with big big smiles on their faces, and they still love to "lap sit" and watch movies (I have the set of "Little Foot" movies and a few favorite Disney ones -- guess I am still a kid at heart!!). So we three pile in my recliner and "veg" a lot when they are here. I know the day will soon come when they will be too busy to want to stay at GramMomMom's - though they say "No!" You =have a great day, too - accomplish a lot on your To Do List!! ;-)

harmony 08-30-2002 08:37 PM

Wow! Haven't had time to post!
I am buried in work right now. We had a microburst in our area evening before last. That is a weather condition that is kind of like a short tornado/hurricane/thunderstorm that mixes everything up really bad for a few minutes.

We lost our fence and several of our neighbors lost their fences, some trees, and roof tiles. I guess our roof held because we just had it put on a week ago. I was so relieved that my elm tree survived. I love that tree.

We had our roof replaced because we were on the edge of a microburst that hit several weeks ago. That one mainly damaged the area near Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. It sure did a number on our roof though. The insurance company agreed.

Within about 2 miles of our house several blocks of power poles went down landing in the back yards of homes, on cars, and on businesses. One pole pushed a tree through the roof of a house. I am counting my blessings!!

There is a lot of clean up to do and I am arranging to have the fence replaced. At the same time I am in a race against the clock to get my fall garden in. There is a lot of preparation needed before sowing any seed.

What is on your agenda? Don't the busy times come in bunches? Sometimes things are calm for several days. Then everything hits at once.

Today at 3:00 PM I officially became an empty nester!!!
My granddaughter will be in school starting the day after Labor Day so I no longer babysit ANY grandchildren. I am excited but I also know I will miss her.

Must go. DH home from work and has stories to tell!


ladydove 08-31-2002 10:05 AM

oh my Patty - I am so glad you did not have more damage than you have. We had a "so-called microburst" here several years ago - wiped out a lot of stuff, but they refused to call it a tornado.
Is your roof OK this time? Phoenix area has been getting hit with various things this year, haen't they?! We have friends who are "snow bunnies" there. Live at "The Lake" - (what we in MO call the Lake of the Ozarks) from about april till Oct - then to Phoenix for the winter months. We were there last April - our middle daughter, who travels for Jack Henry installing banking software, gave us First Class tickets to visit Carl and Jackie. She had gotten them because of so many miles traveling and as she siad "What will I do with them?! Travel some MORE?!" She is single and a work aholic - does not even use the vacation time she gets.

Yes, things do seem to come in bunches! Right now we have a sick grandson. Joyce had taken him to the Dr Thurs during the day and they checked for pneumonia and X-rayed his lungs - had him on meds. He was having so much trouble breathing that they took him to our local ambulance center and they recommended taking him on to ER in Rolla. Turns out he has a bacteria resp. infec and was dehydrated. So we will be sitting more than we usually do for awhile. With both kids in college, we usually sit over the wekends and when their work and class schedules are the same evenings.

I know how you feel on the "steady" sitting. When Melanie ,oved I was glad to not have the girls so much, but was crying because I would nothave them. I know you will enjoy your free time - haha - it just seems to fillup with other stuff, doesn't it. Good luck on your fall garden = hope you have good weather for it!

Keep in touch - I really enjoy visiting with you! Have a good weekend - Linda

harmony 09-17-2002 07:58 PM

Sorry I disappeared for awhile
My dh had what we thought was a heart attack. At least that is what the emergency room people told us. But later when the cardiologists got involved they said it was not technically a heart attack even though the enzyme tests were slightly elevated. But they said he had an 80% blockage of a major artery.

He had an angioplasty with a stent and is now recovering at home. He is missing a few days of work but he needs to rest and heal. We are so thankful it wasn't any worse. God is so merciful.

Needless to say, I was very preoccupied for a while. The family was calling constantly and I was trying to do my job in little chunks of time between going to the hospital and talking on the phone.

Maybe we can get back to normal now. I have to figure out some ways to change his diet. I have no trouble eating right myself but he doesn't appreciate healthy food. I just hope this experience was an eye-opener for him.

I think it was Charles Swindoll who wrote a book once called "The Seasons of Life." I guess this is what goes along with the season of life we are in now.

Blessings on you all, and I'll try to catch up soon


ladydove 09-18-2002 06:58 AM

Patty, our prayers are with you! We will pray for his continued healing. Amen to the love and mercy of God! Even when we think He is not there, He is.

And I can relate to the problem of him not appreciating healthy foods - neither does mine! Veggies are about a lost cause unless they are corn, peas or green beans. I can get him to eat broc. and cauliflower by putting it in alfredo noodles - of course, then you have the alfredo to deal with! A little salad if I fix individual plates. No way to win. (lol)

Again, our prayers - Linda

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