The Goddess Speaks

By Claudia Cannon

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

The eggs are still there

THE empty nest -- I have been hearing about it all my life. It was on the list with all the other essential components of motherhood, right along with diapers and midnight feedings, messy rooms and first crushes gone sour.

I was assured that it would happen, and much sooner than I wanted it to. They would come to me, my children, on the brink of adulthood, tenderly hold my hand and gently tell me that they must go -- to college, or to become a rock star, or to work to eradicate world hunger. My lower lip would quiver, but I would be brave and lovingly, and with all fond wishes, release them in to the world and to greatness.

When my number one son (I have 2) began to bud at adolescence, I felt a twinge of separation anxiety and then a flood of emotion as he morphed into a young man. The cuddly little boy had been replaced by an awkward, hormone driven, bearded and very hungry being. And was it just me, or did he not smell too good either? It was easy to project this person a few years into the future.

The thought would bring on tears, but I could do it. I could see myself, standing in the doorway, shawl draped around my shoulders, waving tearfully as he strode manfully down the driveway. When number two began to show signs of impending manhood, it was easier. I stocked up on extra cans of spray deodorant, bought more frozen pizza and hunkered down.

LIFE went on. I got divorced, lost a little weight, and banished the gray from my hair. There were new hobbies to try, great things happening with my work and what a concept -- a pastime called dating! A mental list has been forming and on it are the things to do when the nest is empty, in that halcyon time I have when they have left and I am free.

But ... they are still here. The younger, a senior in high school, has vague plans for "travelling" after his graduation, but as yet has no money or job, or driver's license. The elder, nearly 21, made a brief foray into the real world and has bounced back and is cheerfully rebuilding his nest in his old room.

As I look around me, friends and family are reporting the same set of circumstances in their households. We look at each other and ask our selves, "What is going on?"

It's true. We, the baby boomers, seem to always be in a hurry. We couldn't wait, as I remember it, to hit the streets at 18 years of age. I had, in a fact, a few friends who lived on the streets for a time. (We called them Flower Children so it was OK). So, I suppose it is natural that we would leap to the conclusion that painful as emptying the nest might be, we would just get to it, embrace the experience and go on. Our kids, it appears, are not on the same page. They seem to be looking at leaving home with a much longer frame of reference, and are comfortable with living at home into their 20's and could it be, horror of horrors, beyond?

That obviously won't do, but finding the comfortable compromise is a challenge. And, I am sure we will find a proper compromise, my sons and I, if we work at it. The mental list of things I want to do is still forming, but it will be a little longer getting to it. I am still looking at eggs.

Claudia Cannon is director of marketing for
Booklines Hawaii and owner of Naturally Native LLC.
She lives in Wahiawa.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
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