Almost immediately after your empty nest is stormed trooped by someone returning to the nest, there are immediate, noticeable, annoying, eye-opening changes that occur. You learned things about your all-grown-up kiddos that you could very well have lived the rest of your life without knowing. On the flip side, you also learn things about them that make you feel all puffed up with pride.
What are the immediate notices? I've picked my top ten and, this time around, I've added the flip side because it's not all annoying. Haha!
You will notice immediately that:
1. Your child has experienced a dramatic loss of hearing while they were out in the world on their own. You know this is true because the television blares at a volume level that never falls below WTF!. Which is about 10 places above the WTH! level. THE FLIP SIDE: You discover it is BIG FUN to watch movies and shows with your adult kiddos because the commentary is HILARIOUS!
2. Your child had a maid come in while they were living on their own. You know this is true because they never pick up anything in their rooms. They never clean their bathroom. Everything is left for the maid. I had no idea my child was making that kind of money. THE FLIP SIDE: There is no flip side. Messy is messy and I don't like it.
3. Your child still expects you to be in charge of the cooking. And grocery shopping. And cleaning up after the cooking. Oh, and paying for the groceries. THE FLIP SIDE: The dinner table becomes fun again with the telling of tales, the sharing of your day and opinions on current events, and much, much laughter.
4. No one has a stress level except you. Messes, loud noises, people sitting around while you're working yourself to death to get everything done---only bothers you. THE FLIP SIDE: If they stay long enough (which they will) you can, actually, find things that bother them and give as good as you get. Ha! But seriously, sometimes this is nothing more than people waiting to be asked to help out. I know when I ask, they are more than willing. You may not feel you should HAVE to ask but, if that's all it takes, just do it. Moms tend to be mind readers. Husbands and kids, not so much. ASK.
5. Unexpected guests will arrive any time of the day or night and yes that includes while you are sitting in your nightgown trying to watch something on television or reading a book. THE FLIP SIDE: Any amount of modesty you may have possessed disappears and you get to know your adult kids' adult friends.
6. There are ALWAYS clothes in the washer and dryer and THEY ARE NEVER YOURS because you do your laundry normal time while they let clothes sit there for a few days which results in some interesting odors from the washing machine. THE FLIP SIDE: They do their own laundry!
7. The sink, no matter how many times you wash those dishes, is never empty. NEVER. Although it's never as full as it could be since most of your bowls and eating utensils mysteriously disappear. THE FLIP SIDE: Ummm...ahhhh....I'll have to get back to you on this one.
8. This adjustment period is going to take way longer than adjusting to the empty nest. Which you miss like crazy. You dream about that empty nest, you long for it and you may even begin resenting those who still have one and consider how you could send your boomerangers to their house to live. THE FLIP SIDE: The amount of laughter you experience on a daily basis far outweighs the longing for the nest to empty again. Most of the time.
9. You are caught up on all the current young adult lingo. THE FLIP SIDE: I was teaching when my kiddos moved back in and this made me super cool with my elementary students. Plus, you get to feel cool all on your own because you know what the young folks are talking about instead of sitting there wondering whether they have learned a brand new foreign language the likes of which you've never heard.
10. Their level of selfishness seems OFF THE CHARTS nearly every day. You feel as though they have little to no respect for you or your home. THE FLIP SIDE: They will suddenly and often do something that makes you realize the do understand respect and that they do accept responsibility; that they show compassion and love to everyone; and that they are the strong, independent, intelligent women you hoped they would be. (Only speaking for daughters here because I have 4. And zero sons. Moms of sons, please share!)
No matter what, you cannot bring yourself to kick your boomerang kids to the curb. But you do think seriously about moving out yourself. To a small house. Too small for more than one. Just remember these things:
- No matter where your mom is, that is home and kids love their moms almost as much as we love them.
- Your way is your way and their way is their way. Neither is right or wrong, just different.
- As with everything in life, you just have to laugh your way through it. And realize it's nice to laugh together.
- AND, they will go to your favorite coffee shop and bring you that caramel latte with the extra shot of espresso any time you want it.