It’s normally the Children who leave the Nest
With those, piercing green eyes burrowing into my soul, my second eldest son said in a very controlled voice, “Mum ! Dad ! …. I ‘ve heard of children leaving the nest but never heard of parents leaving the nest”. Now readers! before you jump to any conclusions, let me briefly explain, that scenario took place fifteen years ago in Cape Town.
After living in London for twenty-six years we decided to move lock stock and barrel to another part of the world. We did, however, have plan B in place, and that was if things did not work out, we would go to my Ireland. My wife is originally from Ireland.
My eldest son had already moved to Cape Town two years earlier, he was in his final Psychology year at the University of Cape Town. My second eldest son had completed his Leaving Cert in London and was accepted to study at UCT as soon as we arrived in Cape Town.
It was an odd feeling seeing our worldly possessions packed up by a removal company then shipped in a container to Cape Town. Our house with all its precious memories of laughter, sadness, joy was gone. My wife and I felt very emotional when the last piece of furniture was packed it was like saying goodbye to a part of your life that would connect with us again but would it would never be the same again.
The house was now just a shell, without a soul, no atmosphere waiting for the next family to bring it back to life. A feeling of despair crept in -we had burnt our bridges and there was no turning back. Did we make the right choice? Deep down I felt that it would work out in the end.
Goodbye London welcome Cape Town
After a tearful goodbye with close friends, we boarded the plane from Heathrow London bound for Cape Town. It was a cold winter’s night as the plane took off on a runway covered with snow. As I peered through the window of the plane with the London lights getting smaller and smaller, we raised our glasses to another journey which would change the course of our lives forever.
We arrived in Cape Town the following morning. We were dressed in our winter clothes. It was the middle of Summer feeling hot and sweaty. We were greeted by my son who had an extremely healthy tan and a big smile to match he was looking good and happy to see us.
We hugged and cried, all our fears of leaving London had completely disappeared. My nephews and nieces came in a convoy of cars and took us to our rented house until we could find a more permanent arrangement.
For anyone wanting to move to another part of the world, I would advise proper planning. I must confess I did not plan properly and paid a heavy price financially. The two years that we stayed in Cape Town was absolutely memorable and magical.It was paradise with the weather, the sea, barbeques and my family reunited once more. My wife and I had the necessary qualifications but our age prevented us from obtaining suitable employment.
My eldest son had one year to go before he graduated and my second eldest son was in his first year at UC.T.
My daughter had enrolled in a local college and was adapting fast making new friends etc. My wife loved the warmth and friendliness. I joined a male choir. We enjoyed weekly trips to see my mother who by the way turned one hundred and three recently.
A lot happened in one year. My wife and I could not settle and we both felt restless.I could see my wife was miles away mentally, I had that sinking feeling that I had made the wrong choice in coming back. After dinner one night my wife announced that she was not happy, especially after a scary car hijacking. It had left her nervous. She was afraid to venture out on her own. My adult kids agreed with a heavy heart that we should go back and live our lives.
My two sons loved Cape Town and both were in relationships.They did not want to go back to the UK. It was a difficult wrench. My wife was the first to go back to Ireland, my daughter followed shortly afterward and I reunited with my wife and daughter the following year.
See what You Gained
We are now proud grandparents of four delightful grandchildren, sadly they are miles away. My sons have excellent careers in Cape Town and my daughter lived in Milan, Moscow and finally married an Alaskan and lives in the United States. We try and visit all of them as often as we can, we keep in touch once a week on Skype.
Some of you may not agree with me but it may have been the best thing that could have happened. My adult kids have learned to stand on their own two feet, they have become self-sufficient, self-reliant, resilient and can solve their own problems.
Since moving back to Ireland, my wife and I have started a new life together again. We have more time to travel, to socialize, I graduated with a BA Degree in Sociology, Political Science, and German in 2014.
The best thing that came out of this journey, is we are living a purposeful life and have connected with our three adult children on a whole new level. I forgot to mention my wife wrote a novel about her experiences in Cape Town and turned it into a romantic novel called Maya’s Journey. She is writing a sequel.It will be a dream come true for her if her books could be made into a movie.
An article was written by Bianca London in the Daily Mail. She revealed in a survey, that more than 50 percent of parents admitted they could not wait for their children to fly the nest. Researchers found many mothers and fathers are literally counting the days until they have the house to themselves once again.
Four in ten said they were ‘looking forward to the peace and quiet’ and a similar number are keen to reap the financial benefits of their child moving out. The opportunity to turn the new spare room into an office or gym and take more holidays also adds to the appeal. Around one in four of those who took part in the study went as far as to say they have already started planning their new lives.
The report found 51 percent of parents can’t wait for the children to move out, while two-thirds felt that while grown-up kids still lived at home, they were ‘obliged’ to include them in their plans. In fact, two-thirds said they felt pressurised to include their children on holidays, weekend breaks and days out.
The poll also found 47 percent of mothers and fathers said they are really looking forward to spending time together as a couple again. And 26 percent said they are looking forward to bringing back some romance to their lives once they have the house to themselves.
But a sneaky 26 percent of parents said they will give the impression they are devastated when their children move out, although they will be secretly elated.
Despite their eagerness to see their children leave home, eight in ten parents believe the current housing market means adult children will be living at home for longer.
Not surprisingly then, 90 percent said they feel sorry for today’s younger generation. But an organized 25 percent are already making plans for when they become childfree. Nearly half have researched a ‘once in a lifetime holiday, while around 37 percent have already booked a cruise or holiday.
One in four have viewed perspective new homes and one in ten have been to look at a flashy new car. Of those polled over a quarter said they had a bucket list they wanted to fulfill when the kids move out, with seeing the Northern Lights topping the list.
Runner-up was paying off the mortgage, followed by going on a cruise. One in four said they were determined to see Las Vegas as soon as the kids moved out of the family home. The poll of 2,000 parents with children aged 16 and above living at home was carried out by Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Children do tend to stay living at home for longer in this day and age. But this survey shows many parents of children who are nearing or already reached adulthood are putting their lives on hold until their children fly the nest.
‘The research shows many parents do have big plans for the future, whether that’s downsizing, traveling or undergoing renovations. The financial strain of having adult children living at home can also take its toll and many parents feel like they have a new lease of life when they get the house to themselves. Read my blogs The Empty Nest Syndrome. and Failure to Launch