I really never dreamed of moving from our current home during the empty nest phase. This decision, I believe, was based on my experience with my own parent’s home. Ironically, while most empty nesters downsize their homes my parents just kept upsizing. The home I grew up in was a four bedroom colonial with two and a half baths on about a half an acre of property. To me, it never felt small, it always felt just right. However, the house aged and instead of going through renovations, my parents decided to buy a new home which was larger and had more property. When this house got to the point of needing renovations they again bought another home that was even larger with yet even more property. Keep in mind they were pretty much empty nesters in the first house and could have easily moved into a smaller more easy-to-manage townhouse where they didn’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, fixing the roof etc.
Each time my parents moved, I felt a sadness leaving behind the memories that my children had made with their grandparents. However, our ever growing extended family quickly made new memories in each new home. But, what I always appreciated was having space and being comfortable when we visited. We had our own bedroom and bathroom and enough space that we never felt like we were in each others way and the kids always loved having a big yard to run around and play soccer. Yes, we would have managed without the space but I truly think we may have not visited as much or stayed as long if we didn’t feel so comfortable.
I realize now that perhaps this was all a part of my parent’s grand master plan knowing that their family would only get bigger as we married and had children. They were willing to make the sacrifice of all the headaches of keeping their house in order to keep us visiting. So, it’s not surprising that I too have always wanted my children to want to come back to us by providing them comfort and space.
I want my grandkids to run around in my yard making memories at their grandma’s house (not that I’m rushing for the grandma title just yet). I want them to play where their mommy or daddy played, hide in the same treasured places, swing on the same tire swing. I want to show them the little penciled height measurements we took every year on the wall.
I also want them to be able to see all the things I saved from their parents and allow them to view the nostalgia in their parents’ eyes as they go through these cherished items with them. Being the sentimental person I am I have saved artwork, school work, pretty much most things the kids made or brought home. I know many of these items would not be able to move with us and having saved these things for so long, I don’t know how I would get through the process of throwing these things away (ahh, my real reason for not moving comes out).
We have been fortunate to have space and property so if we are fortunate enough to keep up with our ever increasing taxes and maintenance of our home as we enter the empty nest phase, I too hope to stay in our home knowing that our children and grandchildren might just visit a little more often and stay a little longer.