Friday, October 5, 2012

Blogging Out Loud: Empty Nest


Barbara and Deb: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our first installation of Blogging Out Loud! We've wanted to do more video blogs for a while now (and many of you encouraged us too), but we are always at the mercy of our limited tech skills (or, rather, our perception thereof) and our lack of camera crew. Lo, our wonderful Luke has returned to the fold and sweetly agreed (we didn’t really ask him) to tape our convo. Thank you, Luke!

We put a few episodes in the can (so don’t wonder why our clothes are always the same), and we hope you enjoy! As always, we look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments section.



If you didn't read it, click here for the post Barbara refers to in the video. And this is the original set-up post.


50 comments:

  1. Love seeing you semi-live. Your voices are so wonderful. I hear the Canadian sounds and remember our lovely visit. Empty nest is a very interesting topic. Raising my kids was my greatest part of my life but, when the birds flew I quickly adjusted and loved my life by myself. My relationship with my grown sons has never been better. The void for me never really was anything but a stage like any time in my life with change. I love listening to you both share your experiences. I wonder if it matter at what age you are when they leave. Having been a young bride and having my sons at 22 and 24, I was ready to soar when they left home. Loved today's video. I also if men have these feelings.

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    1. Thanks, Madge! I do already feel the truth of this being a "stage" and not an "end". As for the men, I can tell you that Phil definitely has felt an enormous change in our lives and he misses the girls a lot. His transition is mostly around missing them and less, I think, around "what is my life now?" Maybe he'll weigh in here later about that. Would love to hear other men address that question...

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  2. Love this soooooo much, thank you ladies (and Luke of course) it means so much to me. I have watched it twice already. I never thought of it as mourning but that is exactly how it feels because we have indeed lost something precious to us. Investing totally in my children was the only way I survived losing Sam and now with them both gone I'm forced to think about it. I wish I had been sitting there with you discussing it more. It would mean so much to talk through the rough patches. Keep the videos coming.

    Oh Deb gotta say I love the overalls you'd fit right in here in upstate NY's farming community!

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    1. So glad you love it, Mary! And it's funny, when we were taping, it really felt like you all were there with us, talking and sharing. I could especially hear your voice and feel your empathy -- since I know you're going through the exact same thing at the same time. PS those overalls are ADORABLE in real life too!

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    2. I've been trying to call Ricky today and he hasn't answered me yet. Not sure how to feel and finding it hard not to feel panicky I have to let go and it's soooooooooooooo hard.

      Deb needs a straw hat to complete her outfit!

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  3. I LOVE seeing you blogging out loud. What a lovely way to start the day!! It is such a difficult time when the kids leave the nest. I remember preparing for it and actually selling the house that they grew up in. I had huge conversations with each boy (I have 3) to see how they felt about me selling our "home" and for some of them, I could barely get the words out and just cried, while they actually consoled me..... they had moved on, while I was clinging to the past. So I moved and started a new life, but it was difficult and I lost 30 lbs in the process. But, eventually I adjusted and now love my new life, home and watching my boys move on to a different phase with theirs. So I did mourn Barb, and I think that is an important part of the process. Luckily, you are very clear with your feelings and have a wonderful friend in Deb, supportive husband in Phil, and many Blog followers who are cheering you on and will be there for you if you stumble. I loved spending 10 minutes with you this morning. What a treat.....all will be well.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Jo! And thanks for sharing this story -- we haven't had to address the feelings of changing a home yet. But I love how you express it: "they had moved on, while I was clinging to the past." I do remember when we moved out of the house the girls were born in. That did feel very ... "debilitating" is the word that comes to mind...

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  4. How lovely to hear your beautiful canadian accents!

    I can't relate to the topic, being in the process of slowly filling my nest, but what you said really struck a chord with me. My doctor has said that he thinks I'm suffering from a mild case of ante-natal depression (which I imagine might feel similar to your 'low-grade blues') and that for some reason this is more common in women who've recently misscarried before becoming pregnant. I had my son when I was 28 and I'd done a quite a lot in my life and had a few "careers" but motherhood was the first time I felt like I was truly good at something. When you said the same thing in that conversation- that you felt it was the only thing you were really good at, it brought tears to my eyes. I think that is one of the reasons for my depression- my faith in my abilities has really been shaken and I feel like I'm not as good a mother as I thought. I didn't even realise that I felt motherhood was the only thing I was good at until I heard you say it and it immediately made me cry!
    Thanks for helping me articulate the buried insecurity. I think I just need to ride out all the low feelings too and hopefully my pregnancy hormones will even out a bit and the sun will come out soon. Glad you're feeling better!

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    1. Aw, Samara, that is so tough. The wonderful thing about hormones is that they allow us so much lushness of life. Of course, the crappy thing is they are their own delicate ecosystem, so easily thrown off balance. I'm glad what I said also resonated with you. I hope we'll both learn our lives are rich and wonderful because of our children, but that they're not the only things we're good at! Ride out the feelings, baby, it's truly the best way (in my experience). Keep us posted! xoxo

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    2. Samara, I can only speak as a daughter in this, but the simple fact that you are worried about what kind of parent you are means that you care, you love, you are a good mother. Don't doubt yourself so much, you are the best mother for your family. Love to you. xoxo

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  5. OMG you girls are soo cute!!! Empty Nest is an interesting topic for me. Coz I'm on the other side!!! I swear the whole time I kept thinking how that is the period my mom has to go through too....I am gonna show this video to her.

    Its funny, when you said private messages I was laughing so hard.. coz I distinctly remember sending you a message and when I didnt get a reply..I knew you needed some time. lol. Now I know why...We were just LIARS...AND IDIOTS!! then LMAO!! Like you said, You just have to ride it out. I LOOVED DEB'S WAY!!! SHE IS MY HERO! This really is what Ive been thinking about for a while. My mom is gonna be in this exact situation soon and for a long time. We are VERY close and it aches...but I have to do this. This is the only big decision I have taken and I swear...everytime something makes me uncertain about this decision this voice inside me starts yelling "NOOOOOOOO...YOU HAVE TO DO THIS...SOO STOP BEING A BITCH..AND GOOO!!! JUST GO...YOU WONT REGRET IT" And I know I wont. I'm hoping my mom gets through the empty nest feeling soon.

    Ok...you gave the mom perspective. Lemme give a daughter perspective. Atleast THIS daughter's perspective. I feel AWESOME and shitty at the same time. Shitty NOT BECAUSE I'm gonnna leave home and wont see my mom for a while. Everyone feels bad for that. But because its gonna take a lotta time to adjust with the change. Its new its different, not scary ironically but different. And Awesome because I am not doing this just for me. I'm doing this for her too. She is my ONLY FAMILY. And since my dad transitioned she has done....EVERYTHING FOR ME. And I got this strong "BE INDEPENDENT" streak from her. So I know how much she wants to be free. I want her to go on with life. I dont want her..like you said to focus all of her energy on me all of her life.. She has sooo many ambitions Barb. And she was raised in a poor family and taught she doesnt get free will. I just want to tell her that she does. I want her to do WHAT SHE WANTS. That is the bigger picture for me. I keep telling people to be positive and create good things and if I cant do this for her...whats the point of me??? THIS MAKES ME HAPPY BOTH WAYS! And I'm REALLY happy for taking this decision because I'll be COMPLETELY independent..and So will my mom!!

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    1. This is such a great and interesting response, S! Because I love how you see that getting your own independence will help your mom find hers. It's so true. The adjustment period for her will be hard, just don't feel guilty about it. It is a necessary turning point. So excited for both of you!!

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    2. I know...That gives me strength!!! Knowing there are so many people excited for me :) xo

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  6. VUNDERBAR!!!!
    You two are the best. So sweet, so genuine, so respectful of and caring for each other, and altogether WAY too goodlooking. Also, this video made me miss you.

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  7. I love Blogging Out Loud, fer crying out loud! I'm so glad you did it and Luke did a great job taping (and, I assume, editing). I was both smiling and crying while watching (I'm such a good multitasker). I look forward to future videos.

    As for the mourning, we are often conditioned to think that only happy or fun emotions are valid or good, but all emotions are important and necessary. It's a wonderful thing that you have such great support around you.

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    1. Eileen, this is so so so true!! It is something I really struggle to accept. But am forced to realize again and again. Thanks for the smile/cry too :) xo

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  8. First of all ladies...what accent? Secondly, it's definitely a process...this acknowledging that the hands-on part of the job is done and it's officially time to let go of the offspring and leave them to apply all our copious preparation to their own pursuits. I think it's tough because for many women, whatever other endeavors professional or otherwise, we choose to pursue, none personally compares to that of raising our children. (Not assigning a value to having kids or suggesting other paths aren't as important, just stating what I observe daily.) So when things unfold as they should and the kids move on to chase their own dreams, we can be forgiven our sadness and sense of loss as, in some ways, our most important work is behind us. However we choose to invest our new time or our now freed up energy, we can't help but look back longingly and pine for the days that came before. And if you like your kids - really truly like them for who they have become - you miss the physical presence of them the way you would anyone who was important to you. Like I said, it's a process. You find a way...you appreciate the adult interaction...you step in to be the 'mom' when asked...you look on with a pride so fierce you can taste it...you thank your lucky stars you had the opportunity to find yourself at this point.

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    1. So well put, Annette (as always)! I have Michele home right now for Canadian Thanksgiving -- and it is divine. So I know EXACTLY whereof you speak! Truly truly like the person.

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  9. I don't know what else to say to the "Empty Nest" topic...

    I don't know if my parents want me to leave...or if they're happy that I stayed and helped them...

    Anyway...I just loooove to listen to your beautiful voices, and see you! :)
    Made my day. ♥

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    1. This is the perfect thing to say, Becki! xo

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  10. Love the blogging out loud concept and it was very well done. When it comes time for my girls to leave the nest I'm sure I'll think back to all these wonderful insights and I'm sure they will help me out, actually they already are!

    My oldest has just signed up to participate in an exchange program early next spring. I haven't even let her take the city bus on her own yet and now I'm going to send her more than 2,500KM away to Quebec on a airplane alone! I'm really not sure how I'm going to handle trusting that she'll be ok with strangers in a strange city in a province she's never even visited before for two full weeks! Oh and returned to me safely.
    She's been away from home, for camp and soccer tournaments before but never at such a distance and not for as long. I still think it's a great opportunity that I can't logically deny her. I just didn't realize it would be this worrisome when I first agreed to sign her up. I know it's not the same but it feels like another little baby step towards that future point when she actually does leave for good.

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    1. Oh, I think that is right in the ballpark, Erin. I remember those transitional moments very well, how hard they were, how full of angst and stress. But also the sweet lesson of learning and teaching independence. Good luck!

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  11. Love the Blogging Out Loud!! Love this idea and love seeing you two and hearing your voices.
    I am so glad that you are coming out of your mourning, Barbara. I can only speak as a daughter in this, but I think that you are handling this situation in the best ay possible. You clearly love your girls, which is why you are going through this process. It is nice to see parents that love and care for their children as much as you two do.
    When I moved out, I mourned my past life, my life as a daughter and as someone's responsibilty. Of course I am still a daughter, but I am also a woman, a student, a, employee, a friend, and many other things too. I think we children try to act like we are prepared for whatever the world will throw at us, but in reality, we sometimes need a hug from Mom, or a phone call, or a surprise visit just to make us feel like we are not alone, that we made the right decisions.
    Love you ladies, Hope you have a lovely weekend! xoxo
    Oh, and nice camera work, Luke!

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    1. This is beautiful, Steph. A great daughter perspective! And a happy reflection on the ongoing sweetness of shard love and respect.

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  12. Love you girls, and share your feelings. In the same boat...

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    1. Love you too, Hollye, and I know your boat!

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  13. What a blog! Very lovely idea indeed. Like to hear what you two have come with for the next blog. :)

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  14. Love the Blogging Out Loud! And I look forward to the next one. :-)

    Barb - I'm afraid I don't know much about the whole empty nest thing, since I don't have any children and I never left home. But there seem to be others here who have been very helpful, indeed, so I'll simply offer a massive internet hug and say I'm glad you're feeling better. ((((((Barb))))))

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    1. April, let me tell you-- that is very very good, thanks! xoxo

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  15. I too love the Blogging Out Loud. It is so sweet to hear your voices in a conversation, see you talk, your faces... you both are so lovely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so freely with us. Have a great weekend!

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  16. Blogging Out Loud is a great idea. You guys are great writers so your writing doesn't lack tone or expression, but it's still nice to hear your words in your voices instead of my mental voice :)

    Good luck with the adjustment period, Barb. I hope that everything goes really well for you :)

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    1. Thanks, Aimee! As Michele is home for the weekend (it's Canadian Thanksgiving), it's kind of ironic that we've posted this today!! Anyway, I'm loving it.

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  17. Finally I made it here! I have been trying to comment all day with no success. :(

    I ended up having to drive my Gram (she doesn't drive) to the hospital to visit my Gramp. He had scheduled surgery for a stent in an artery a few days ago but was ending up having to stay in the hospital longer than expected to recover. Needless to say, he was supposed to be getting out at 11Am. I just got home at 7:30 PM!! Hospitals don't move fast unless your are about to die I have learned : ) Oh and Gramp is doing just fine and is home relaxing now.
    Anyway back to the blog

    I loved finding the video last night! A wonderful welcomed late night gift. Watching you guys talk at length on video gave me a whole new way of looking at you guys. It almost felt like I was meeting you guys for the first time. Accents never really crossed my mind before but I kept finding myself smiling as I noticed the differences in our accents. AND the background was so sirene looking! Pool and flowers! <3 SO glad you, Barbara, are getting better with the empty nest!!
    Love the video blogging!!!! <3 <3

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    1. Kelly, soooo sorry to hear about your grandfather's ailments! So happy and relieved he's doing well now. Much love to all!

      Thanks for you sweet words about the video! It was so much fun to do, and we really did feel like we were chatting cozily with you all.

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  18. This is cute! Can't believe it was exactly a week ago we had lunch, and that's when I watched this today. We had lunch again! LOL (Seems so long ago!)

    Barb, I'm glad you really are clearing up. Not cheering up, CLEARING up. Getting an idea of what the next phase looks like, will look like, and how you will view and respond to it. It's a huge benefit to know people are there to help and support you. :)

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    1. "Clearing up" -- perfect choice of word!!! Thanks, Dawn. And we miss you!!
      xoxo

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    2. Wish I could make it back there on the 26th. At least you and I could hang. I get the feeling your cohort is going to be busy that afternoon/evening. :)

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    3. Actually Phil and I are heading to Paris on the 26th!! Need to see our other baby. And it's Paris, after all :)

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  19. Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just watched your video and it brought tears to my eyes because it helped me to realize I'm NOT crazy and it's okay to have these feelings. And I'm NOT the only woman to go through this process...my son has been in college now for 6 weeks and I'm so sad all the time. I, too, feel that "mothering" is the only thing I'm good at so I have been struggling. He was such a large part of my day that I find myself "blue" a lot. What you ladies said about focusing on his "doing great" helped me. Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. So glad this is helping, Susan. Amazing how "talking it out" can help shine a light and so help towards coping strategies. My biggest touchstone was the idea that I had to sit in the mourning. Good luck with your transition -- keep us posted!

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  20. Hi everyone, just got back from NYC late last night and sat down to read all the responses. What a supportive wonderful group we have here. Honestly I cannot say enough. My heart swells at the comments. Thanks for being there for Barb during this trying time and for always being there for us and with us through the thick and thin of it. You are such a group!!!

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    1. I agree, Deb. And welcome back!!!!

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    2. I'm Always here! And I'll always love you girls xoxo

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  21. Blogging out loud is awesome, though watching it on my phone, Deb is cut off! You are a voice to the right and the odd flailing arm movement! Lol.

    To the subject: VERY timely! Laurel is 16 and I see less and less of her - more often its her in the passenger seat as I drop her off or pick her up. I started experiencing an over whelming feeling of being lost a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling a little abandoned as she marched off with out me to have yet another experience (which I really do want her to have, its what I always wished for her - as a small child I told her I looked forward to the day she would go out into the world and have fantastic adventures and then tell me all about them). So, I admit, I was throwing a bit of a pity party, table for one in the darkest corner please. And she isn't even gone yet!

    Laurel by far is my shining glory. She is the one thing I would not, could not quit. And before her that's what I did. I would do something until I got bored and then I would shift gears and head off in aother direction. That way of being stopped when she was born.

    So a few night of crying myself to sleep at night and moping around and that little voice (the one I love and respect, not that other one I keep trying to ditch) repeated its favorite line in my ear ' the best part of change Fran is the opportunity to make new choices'.

    So, before the poor child is out the door, I began making plans. Some are travel (I am going to walk the Ridgeway trail across England) Many are home based (put in a pond, expand the formal garden, move the greenhouse) and most important are business (a web site with shipping capabilities for my Granola Girl business, and making the Farm into a destination for weddings and maybe even a restaurant).

    By the time I was done thinking all those thoughts I was a little cheerier and I began to feel like I could have purpose in my life after Laurel runs out the door and doesn't look back (until she needs something of course - which I will happily provide!)

    And the reality is that we WANT them to go out into the world and forge their own lives and the only way for them to do that well is without us. Its a gift really - for us as well as them.

    Love those choices

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    1. Fran, wow, soooo perfect! I love your plans for the future!! Just another little bird in your ear: don't be surprised if, despite your amazing plans and your excitement about them and your busy-ness with them, there may still be a bit of those blues, and you may well need a few weeks or days of plain ol' moping! (not saying you didn't "get that", but wanted to reiterate... xoxo

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    2. Thanks for the tip Barb! And I know it aint over till its over - and by over I mean dead - me dead I mean. Once a parent, always a parent - and everything that comes with it!

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  22. To our Canadian readers: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Off to eat and be merry :) xoxo

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