An empty nest can fill again

Humans and birds are somewhat alike in regard to when is the time to leave the nest. Baby robins are given a few last reminders of flight and gathering food, and then they are gone.

With humans, it is a little bit different, as years go by with many preparations. Those preparations include schools, family life, work attitudes and perhaps religion, pointing them supposedly in the right direction for a normal life, and then they, too, are gone.

It was the summer of 1960 when I left the nest after joining the Navy. I was so proud of myself, climbing into a bus heading toward the unknown. True adventure encircled my mind along with a band blaring in my ears playing “Anchors Aweigh.”

Leaving the nest is a saga that we all endure and in many cases also includes periods of home sickness and deep thoughts of family and friends. It is a major difference in a college dormitory, military barracks, shipboard living or sharing an apartment compared to the comforts of home sweet home.

In my case, my wife and I had four children, and the growing-up period seems to be gone in a flash. In no time they, too, were leaving the nest. One by one they left either to schools, jobs, the service and marriage.

There is a much-needed relief as the last one tumbles out the door, but always deep concern over their whereabouts and what job they landed and their happiness.

You see, parenting is never really over. What a thrill it is when they all come home for holidays along with the grandchildren and the sadness when they leave.

Leaving home can be a very challenging period in everybody’s life. The desire for complete independence, fear of failure has to be right up there in thought, and there always seems to be somewhat of a dependence on parents as years go by. Goals by most who leave the nest are to be quite successful in life, and being capable of just supporting yourself or your new family financially.

Due to our recent recession and an economic downturn that has lasted way too long, the unthinkable seems to be happening also, and that is that children who are now adults and having it a little bit rough are moving back into the nest with dear old mom and dad.

After being long gone for sometimes several years, look who’s back? This creates a transition that usually doesn’t run too smoothly. Parents are older now and have finally got used to their everyday schedules, and it is hard to share new habits with the television viewing, kitchen and bathroom as well.

What about paying board and cleaning up their rooms? Should mom, who is much older now do the laundry, ironing and cleaning up their rooms, plus all the late snack dirty dishes? What if they have spouses, and even some kids? This could create a mad house.

And hopefully, those problems can be solved. Sometimes the new arrival can also be spoiled and lead a charmed life, as the parents are so glad to see them and have them home again. These adult children should always respect the new rules handed down by the parents and should be under obligation to the parents to meet all responsibilities.

It is said that perhaps as high as 77 percent of college grads move back into home after their school is completed. That is the norm. It is so hard to even imagine a robin or any bird accepting and welcoming their well-traveled chick back into their nest with all the comforts of home and food to boot.

But humans are different, aren’t we?