An Empty-Nest Syndrome
There is a scene in the movie “Boyhood” that really hit me as a parent.
It’s when Mason, the main character, is packing his things to get ready
for college, also leaving his mother with an empty nest. His mother is
crying and she says, “You know what I’m realizing? My life is just gonna
go, like that! This series of milestones. Getting married, having kids,
getting divorced, the time that we thought you were dyslexic, when I
taught you how to ride a bike, getting divorced AGAIN, getting my
master’s degree, finally getting the job I wanted, sending Samantha off
to college, sending YOU off the college… You know what’s next? Huh? It’s
my fuckin’ funeral!”
“Aren’t you jumping ahead by like, forty years or something?” Mason
“I just thought there would be more,” his mother cries. Those seven
words made my eyes water.
Isn’t that how it always is with your children? You try to control them;
you want them to be happy; you want them to be successful; you do
everything in your power to get them on the right path; you go through
numerous trials, tribulations, heartaches, celebrations, touching
moments, angry moments, loving moments, pride moments. Then they
up and leave. Plus, they do not take any of your advice.
What is that “more” that you crave at that moment of departure, that
moment of realization that the person you raised is now truly a grown-
up? I think, perhaps, it could be another child. If we had the power right
then and there to snap our fingers for a new infant to appear, we
The “more” we really should be seeking, however, is our brand new
empty-nester self and what that will bring into our life.
But really, when you think about it, we are always expecting “something
more” in everything we do, aren’t we? We get excited about a result
created from our sincerest efforts and after a period of time it loses its
luster and we are onto something else. Or we become disillusioned or
disappointed in something or other. With parenthood, however, in a
sense, our children are forever a result of who we are; we expect more
all the time and usually get less, even when our children are super
achievers. I think that is the norm, and I’m sure there are exceptions,
albeit small in number.
So, when Mason’s mom said she expected more she was lamenting the
fact that the next stages of her life were unclear, except for her certain
Thanks for stopping by,
“People make a
lot of jokes about
the empty nest.
Let me tell you, it
is no laughing
matter. It is really
- Michelle Pfeiffer