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Empty nest? Sending student off to college can be a sad time
Country Today ^ | 6-1-09 | Jackie Dittrich-Blahnik

Posted on 06/01/2009 6:16:29 PM PDT by SJackson

I go to bed the moment it gets dark in the evenings, but I still don't like to get up until the later morning hours. What they don't know is I sleep all day when they are gone. I know it is not tiredness or sleepiness, but it is great sadness bordering on depression.

I remember many years ago when my boy Billy was just a youngster. He'd practice playing catch in the yard with his dad, and I'd watch. For hours he'd practice shooting hoops in the driveway. I'd watch and listen to the rhythm of his dribbling. When he ran, making a quick move to the basket, the dribble rhythm would be faster. When his pace slowed, so did the rhythm of the dribble.

I can remember the years of Cub Scout meetings in our home. His Scout buddies were fun to have in the house. They were loud, laughed a lot and ate even more. Sometimes Billy would have sleepovers. I always enjoyed his friends.

Later when he was a teenager, I wasn't able to settle in for a good night's rest until I knew he was home safe and sound in his bed. I learned to recognize the hum of his car motor. I anticipated his arrival into the house. He always spoke to me with kindness and tenderness.

In recent summers, Billy had a pitching mound in the backyard. I loved sitting out there on the deck watching him fine-tune his mechanics. Sometimes he would throw that little white ball so fast it would sizzle through the air. When the sizzling fireball hit the target it would make a bang. I loved it.

But, now things are different. Very different.

I knew something was happening. Things began to pile up on the cedar chest, and then around the living room. It looked like new stuff, especially for Billy. Then the day happened. The dreaded suitcase came out. Whenever I see that thing, I know something serious is going to happen - and I was right.

They loaded up the SUV and I watched as they drove away. Billy was in the back by all that stuff that was on the cedar chest. The last thing I saw was that dreadful blue suitcase as they drove out of sight. I wondered what was going on the entire day.

They were gone a long time. When they returned, there was no Billy. I wondered what happened to him. Did they lose him? They keep talking to me in English, but I don't understand. They even put the phone up to my ear. I heard something that reminded me of Billy. Who does that kind of stuff? They know I don't talk on the phone.

It's been a month and I have not seen my boy. I am heartbroken and lonesome for him. I no longer get excited with hopefulness when the door opens, thinking it just might be him returning home to me. He just doesn't come through that door. Where is he? Why doesn't he come home to love me? Why are they not so sad and crying their eyes out for him? I am so worried. He doesn't come home to sleep in his bed anymore. Why don't they care?

So here I am. Three years ago I lost my kennel mate, and now I lost my boy. I remember when my kennel mate Bonnie became terminally ill. She told me in dog language that it was my turn to watch over our boy Billy. I thought I was doing a good job - until now. I don't know where he went. I'll bet my cup of dog food Bonnie is very mad at me. She entrusted our boy to me and I blew it.

We as parents send our children off to college. We experience a gamut of emotions, and the phrase "empty nest" was coined. Do our young adults' pets experience the same kind of loss and emotional turmoil? In our case, I believe our beagle, Clyde, is experiencing empty kennel syndrome. This story was meant to give his pain a voice as I, Billy's mom, struggle through this time of transition.


TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: parenthood; psychology

1 posted on 06/01/2009 6:16:29 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson

Okay, now I have to find a tissue....


2 posted on 06/01/2009 6:20:02 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take his office)
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To: SJackson

3 posted on 06/01/2009 6:21:14 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: SJackson

O COME ON!

Kids grow up — that is how Life works.

Melodrama helps them not at all.


4 posted on 06/01/2009 6:21:48 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: SJackson

Didn’t seem to bother my parents when I left.


5 posted on 06/01/2009 6:25:25 PM PDT by Abigail Adams
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To: Abigail Adams

Mine as well. I think they threw a party when I went to university.


6 posted on 06/01/2009 6:27:56 PM PDT by max americana
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To: freedumb2003; Abigail Adams

It’s written by the kids dog. ;>)


7 posted on 06/01/2009 6:28:05 PM PDT by SJackson (in the fight against terrorism, no middle ground, half-measures leave you half-exposed, D. Cheney)
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To: Abigail Adams

I am counting the days......

We love ya’ll, but, remember, we chose each other first. We sacrificed, gave up our privacy, time, and money to take care of each of you. Now get on with your productive, full, wonderful lives, and let us run around the living room NAKED! WOO HOOOOOOOO!


8 posted on 06/01/2009 6:28:55 PM PDT by wombtotomb
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To: Abigail Adams
They turned my brother's room into a study and my room into a sewing and crafts room about a week after we moved out.
9 posted on 06/01/2009 6:29:14 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (When you're spinning round, things come undone. Welcome to Earth 3rd rock from the Sun!)
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To: SJackson

OK, the article had me going. I was about to offer the advice that the mom should use this time to finally pursue her interests. I’m finding this time wonderful!

But it is about the young man’s dog. They don’t understand. It is confusing for them. I recommend, get another dog. Dogs are pack animals. When the pack dissolves the dog is going to grieve.

Get a second dog.


10 posted on 06/01/2009 6:30:10 PM PDT by Jemian (PAM of JT ~~ Caligula, just like his Kenyan ancestors, is selling his countrymen into slavery.)
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To: SJackson
I remember my neighbor in IN had twins and when they went to college she was in a real depression.......then came the first Christmas home .....she could hardly wait till they went back to school....depression overrrrrrr !!!!!!

As parents this is our job, raise them will they leave the nest.....it is a good thing.

11 posted on 06/01/2009 6:30:46 PM PDT by Kimmers (Be the kind of person when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, Oh crap, she's awake)
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To: SJackson

12 posted on 06/01/2009 6:31:06 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: freedumb2003

i feel her pain but this mother should get down on her knees and Thank God her son is off at college instead of having to work a McJob and that the family is able to afford him to be away and develop some independence as he should be doing at this age.


13 posted on 06/01/2009 6:31:41 PM PDT by MissDairyGoodnessVT (Mac Conchradha - "Skeagh mac en chroe"- Skaghvicencrowe)
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To: MissDairyGoodnessVT

Dear Dawg,
ask your owner/mother/father to find you a pal and get over it! roflmao


14 posted on 06/01/2009 6:35:25 PM PDT by MissDairyGoodnessVT (Mac Conchradha - "Skeagh mac en chroe"- Skaghvicencrowe)
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To: SJackson

Unlike some of the commenters on this thread, I have been thru it & agree it can be tough. Yeah, that is what life is about but it sure can be hard to watch ‘em go.

When my second boy left, tho my husband and I had 2 cars empty, ready to pack up and help him move, however, he managed to fit everything in his car & he drove himself out west

—his departing words were “Mom, Did you ever feel like something was out there waiting for you, calling for you? I know there is for me, it’s my future waiting for me at Iowa State.” With that he walked out the door and drove off to his first year of college.

I was sniffly for at least 2 days. I know it is going to hit me really hard when when my youngest & only daughter leaves this August.


15 posted on 06/01/2009 6:37:07 PM PDT by bushwon (If you think health care is expensive now, just wait till it is free PJ Orourke)
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To: wombtotomb

Oh, yeah! And please, kids, come to visit. Just call first, ok?

Empty nest? Not a problem at our house!


16 posted on 06/01/2009 6:38:06 PM PDT by trimom
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To: SJackson

I’m counting the minutes until I can get my kids out of the house. Then we completely re-do it, something we’ve put aside the last 22 years as we’ve been raising them.


17 posted on 06/01/2009 6:38:32 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: SJackson

Yikes!


18 posted on 06/01/2009 6:45:57 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: SJackson

Aw, that’s touching. My dogs are hysterical with joy when my daughter comes home from college, and they know very well when she’s getting ready to leave again. They’ll have a terrible time when the youngest leaves.

That said, this puppy needs lots more exercise and attention from Mom and Dad, more ball-throwing, hikes in the woods, and dead rabbits! Nothing gladdens a dog’s heart like a dead rabbit unless it’s a dead squirrel.


19 posted on 06/01/2009 6:46:31 PM PDT by ottbmare (Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Obama! (If you're old enough, you'll understand the reference))
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To: trimom

My kids will NEVER come over unannounced. We made sure they knew our plans when they left. As it is they knock before they come in the house if we are both home, just in case LOL.


20 posted on 06/01/2009 6:46:40 PM PDT by wombtotomb
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To: MissDairyGoodnessVT

er uh, it’s the dog talking.


21 posted on 06/01/2009 6:49:46 PM PDT by Carley (OBAMA IS A MALEVOLENT FORCE IN THE WORLD)
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To: Carley

i know and I reposted that fact ;)


22 posted on 06/01/2009 6:52:20 PM PDT by MissDairyGoodnessVT (Mac Conchradha - "Skeagh mac en chroe"- Skaghvicencrowe)
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To: bushwon

I’m getting ready to face it myself for the first time in August. Combined with the loss of my career, my mother’s dementia, the unstable economy, fear for my husband’s job, and worries about paying for college, it’s getting to be a lot to deal with. My sweet boy has been my pride and joy. I’m not sad that he’s going on with his life, I’m going to miss him. He’s a great young man. I’ve enjoyed having him in my life.


23 posted on 06/01/2009 7:03:19 PM PDT by erkyl (We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office --Aesop (~550 BC))
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To: wombtotomb
I am counting the days......

You betcha! Our youngest goes of to college in the Fall, we can hardly wait!

24 posted on 06/01/2009 7:06:46 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: SJackson
There is no sound more sorrowful than an echo from an empty house, devoid of laundry, furniture, pets, and children grown up. The memories bounce around in your head, taunting you with fragments of times gone by. No more little ones on Christmas morning, no more prom nights, no more get to school on time.

Just echoes.

25 posted on 06/01/2009 7:11:35 PM PDT by stboz
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To: Inyo-Mono

my oldest is gone, he is getting married in Jan. My middle boy will be a senior this year and will be going off to seminary minor next September(going to be a priest). My youngest is being homeschooled now, and is hoping to graduate accelerated in the next 18 months. He is going to be 16 this fall. All of them are employed in this crazy economy. Not much more a mom could hope for!


26 posted on 06/01/2009 7:15:19 PM PDT by wombtotomb
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To: stboz

Sounds sad. It sounds like you forgot grandchildren. All of the fun, none of the work! I can’t wait for that~


27 posted on 06/01/2009 7:16:39 PM PDT by wombtotomb
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To: SJackson
Life is full of transitions. Our oldest son left home, went to college, got married, and was killed in an accident. His pregnant bride carried on and gave birth to a beautiful little girl.

It goes on. Our son left us seven years ago tomorrow.

28 posted on 06/01/2009 7:49:37 PM PDT by joe.fralick
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To: joe.fralick

I am so so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through.


29 posted on 06/01/2009 7:54:09 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: erkyl
I was ready and excited for my first-born to go off to college. Little did I know the adjustment period would hit us smack in the face at the oddest times. In particular, we had supper every night at 6pm. All 6 of us. Mandatory attendance, except for sporting events or work. Then there were 5. WOW. He was a talker and his absence was palpable. And for a time I resisted calling things family things because the ‘family’ wasn't all there. It was an unexpected adjustment for me.
30 posted on 06/01/2009 7:55:02 PM PDT by grame (To God be the Glory!)
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To: SJackson

Mom: “Oh honey, we are losing our dear son.”

Son: “Partay! Where da beer! Call the strippers!”


31 posted on 06/01/2009 8:02:35 PM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Depression Countdown: 55... 54... 53...)
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To: SJackson

My son left for grad school in Australia in January. They’ve really missed each other, but he and our dog Baylee “skype” from time to time ;)


32 posted on 06/01/2009 9:20:55 PM PDT by Kimberly GG (SARAH PALIN - Supports a "path to citizenship" for ILLEGAL ALIENS.)
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To: erkyl

Wow you do have a lot to deal with.

I am planning to do things just for me that I have put off—plus do some retraining as I suspect no retirement anytime soon thanks to our dear friends in Washington.

However, my older son has just asked if he can boomerang back to finish grad school, so tho I miss my son who is now 12 hours away and will severely miss my daughter who will be 8 hours away, I won’t actually be an empty nester....


33 posted on 06/01/2009 9:32:15 PM PDT by bushwon (If you think health care is expensive now, just wait till it is free PJ Orourke)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

LOL. My room was turned into a guest bedroom within a month and my brother’s room into the sewing and crafts room. I got them back by giving them four grandchildren living in the same neighborhood.


34 posted on 06/01/2009 10:00:16 PM PDT by conservative cat (America, you have been PWNED!)
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To: bushwon

Fortunately, my son is only going an hour away, so he’ll be home most weekends, and we’ll be able to go out and see him in the band at football games and concerts. I’m so happy he’s not going to be so far away!


35 posted on 06/01/2009 10:58:41 PM PDT by erkyl (We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office --Aesop (~550 BC))
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To: SJackson

In the immortal words of my Grandmother after we had been visiting for a week or two: “Honey I love you and I can’t WAIT to miss you!”


36 posted on 06/02/2009 6:57:01 AM PDT by T Minus Four (Matthew 15:8 - 9)
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To: ottbmare; Kimmers; Jemian; Harmless Teddy Bear; wombtotomb
wombtotomb: let us run around the living room NAKED

Harmless Teddy Bear: turned my brother's room into a study and my room into a sewing and crafts room about a week after we moved out

Jemian: They don’t understand. It is confusing for them. I recommend, get another dog. Dogs are pack animals.

Kimmers: As parents this is our job, raise them will they leave the nest.....it is a good thing

ottbmare:My dogs are hysterical with joy when my daughter comes home from college

With my yougest 4 years gone I can't say it was a huge adjustment, though I don't run around naked, and haven't changed the rooms since they come back to visit. Finishing college is a joy only exceeded by getting a job.

Animals are something else, though they didn't react initially, they go nuts on visits and are sluggish as soon as they see suitcases moving around. Of course they get the same way if they suspect I'm going somewhere without them too, so it may be a suitcase thing. Jemian has an interesting point about the pack culture. We always have 2 or 3, and 1-3 cats, technically kids cats on long term visits, and I suspect it might lessen the impact. Maybe the author should get another dog.

37 posted on 06/02/2009 8:20:57 AM PDT by SJackson (in the fight against terrorism, no middle ground, half-measures leave you half-exposed, D. Cheney)
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