Thursday, September 28, 2017

Seven Tips for When Your Eldest Child Soars from the Nest

Hint, Mom:  you are the one who is sad around here. Or if the kid is, he'll never tell. But here are seven of the 7,000 things you know you'll want to tell him:

1. The Golden Mean is actually pretty cool.  Extremes can seem more fun, but they tend to make you come down with hangovers, mononeucleosis, or bad colds. 

2. A Back-to-Basics philosophy cures you from those interesting moments when you've deviated from that Golden Mean. Which basics? Oh, a healthy breakfast, including things like whole wheat bread or muffins, scrambled eggs with toast, yogurt; enough sleep, warm socks, regular habits, staying hydrated; an habitual method of grounding oneself after an unsettling day (regular practice of musical instrument; regular trip to gym; regular morning dance class, for example). While I'm at it, the usual stuff: brushing, flossing, showering, footcare.

3. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," and you won't regret losing your guitar to your best friend, or your own loss of that twenty euros somebody loaned you.

4. Find humor in worst-case scenarios. Remember Dorothy Parker:

"A heart in half is chaste, archaic,
But mine resembles a mosaic."

If she could laugh at a broken heart, so can you. Statistically speaking, sooner or later you will endure one, and it will bring you as much fun in later years as it brought torment in early ones. Yes, "the worst returns to laughter."

5. Select friends who are deeply engaged in their work. These will be with you for life. Drinking buddies come and go. 

6. Enjoy your studies, and don't cringe when older people insist "these are the best years of your life!" They've forgotten. But these early years are the ones that launch you, and they can be thrilling. 

7. Contemplate the meaning of George Bernard Shaw's axiom: "Youth is wasted on the young."


  1. Good advice. My experience with empty-nesting kids, however, is that they pay no attention to parental advice. They're free, free, free at last!

  2. I like to think the kids and I are still "dialoguing."