The whole empty nest stereotype is bogus. There are as many reactions to graduating out of the daily, in-house parenting phase of life, as there are parents. People who have maintained their own identity while parenting, and most people these days do maintain a healthy identity and don’t live solely through or for their children. But there can be patterns of behavior from the parenting years that are comforting, familiar, and rewarding and that may be maintained once the kids are gone.
I didn’t know that we would fit into this pattern. But we do, I think. Our life together has been almost totally filled with parenting. We didn’t have much time together alone before our family started. And while that may be less than ideal, per what is recommended by marriage experts, that is what we have come to know and with which we are comfortable.
I think that some of this is underlying our decision to get a puppy. We can’t imagine life without a being able to care for a living, loving creature. I’m pretty sure this is one of the reasons we now have a 26 lb. puppy.
Yes, that is right, twenty-six pounds! Our Little Guy has BIG feet.
Humans have a need to parent. There are many ways this urge can be filled, satisfied, or mitigated. Having kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, volunteering with kids, having pets, engaging in a caring profession, and so on also can take care of the innate need to parent. Also, some couples engage in lots of care-taking behavior with each other, and that fills the same care-giving niche.
But us, we parent puppies. BIG puppies.