Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a woman with a sheep. Was it possible she was the famous Bo Peep who lost her sheep (from the Nursery Rhyme)?   Had one of her sheep come back? If she was Bo Peep, we had a lot in common! I’m an empty nester, too. I had to check it out…


Hey there, by any chance, are you Bo Peep? You know, from the rhyme that goes, “Little Bo Peep, lost her sheep, and didn’t know where to find them.  Leave them alone and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them?”

BO PEEP: That’s me.  One sheep came back for a quick visit.  I’m smiling on the outside but crying on the inside.


BO PEEP: Here’s the part they never tell you about when you‘re an empty nester. When your kids come back to visit, you notice they’ve changed. And it hurts.

I get that. My daughter moved far away and when she comes back to visit, I see she’s adapted to her new environment.  She’s not exactly the same person she was when she left. It hurts to see that.  Selfishly, I miss who she used to be.

BO PEEP: Right!  And why do they have to go so far in the first place?  I mean, I raised my two sheep in a beautiful meadow with a sturdy fence so they’d always be safe.  I made sure they had organic grass to eat.  We settled in an area where the weather was perfect—not too hot and not too cold.  There were lots of nice sheep to hang out with. What more could sheep want?

Don’t ask me.

BO PEEP: Obviously it wasn’t good enough for my son sheep.  He whined it was too confining and homogeneous growing up in our meadow. He never wants to live here again.

So where did he move to?

BO PEEP: The African plains. He’s exceptionally fuzzy, so I worry he’ll pass out if he gets too hot. He’s not fenced in, so he wanders around wherever he wants to go—which makes me crazy.  And he’s seriously dating an elephant.

It’s a changing world.

BO PEEP: But it really hurts my feelings. I tried so hard to make a nice home for him.

All this hurts my feelings, too.  On the other hand, I remember when I was in my twenties and moved out of my parents’ house, I was sooo happy!  It was so freeing! I went out and did whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it! And I told my parents I hated where I grew up!  I said it was boring and superficial and I’d never come back.  I must have hurt THEIR feelings.

BO PEEP: Yeah.  Same here.  Before I was Bo Peep with Sheep, I was “Bo Peep with a Jeep.”  I drove that thing all over the world any time of day or night.  My parents never knew where I was. I was a wild woman.

I guess back in those days, we weren’t ready to be the women we are today.  We were…different. 

BO PEEP: And… now that my sheep are living away, I’ve become less active.  I’m quieter and take life a little slower.

Me too.  Maybe when our kids come home to visit, they also notice…we’ve changed.

BO PEEP: And it hurts them.



­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Hey there dear blogger friends, I’m still struggling with this.  If you’re an empty nester, how do you feel when your kids come back and you notice they’ve changed?  Or if you’re a younger person and have left the home where you grew up, how do you experience your parents when you return for a visit?





  1. As the last bird to leave the nest I worry how they will do but I realize that they were fine before us kids ao they’ll be ok. I do notice changes in that they are getting older and slowing down a bit but it helps me appreciate the time we do get to spend together. I think that the growth by both parents and kids after the empty nest is good and is something necessary to truly discover oneself. Thanks enjoyed this topic !

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  2. I loved the fact that my two daughters flew the nest because I knew I had done a good job of raising them and they had confidence to fly. They fly back often 😉 The Nest is never empty…………… Welcome the freedom to release the inner you and fly yourself. 💕🌹

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  3. I never thought about my parent’s perspective about me leaving when I was younger, so thank you for showing me this. I, too, moved far away once I was out of college. My jobs were in different states. By the way, I like your updated tagline under your blog name in the header!

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  4. I’m an empty-nester, and I have noticed that my kids have changed as they’ve continued to mature. And I don’t always like the changes. But I try very hard to accept the changes and to make sure I am relating to the person they have become and the person they are becoming.
    This is especially important to me because when I “grew up” my parents didn’t seem to notice. When I went home, they tended to see me and treat me as if I were still, if not a child, then at least the same person I was when I lived at home. And I couldn’t relate to that, because I wasn’t that person any more. I really don’t want to do that to my kids, so I try to see them with fresh eyes, and to appreciate who they are now.


  5. It’s important to focus on how they change, and not fall into the same old patterns of treating them how they used to be. They make decisions without our input now. I don’t think we ever feel that we’ve “finished” our kids, so sometimes I send them ridiculous things like “Lecture #2, 343…..don’t forget to……”, just to remind them of who raised them and that it’s all still a continuing process. They sigh and shake their heads and roll their eyes, I’m sure!

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  6. I love your blog. I will have to come back and get caught up on your writings. My husband and I are empty nesters. I miss when my children were small. Sometimes no matter how you raise them, they don’t turn out very well. And it breaks your heart. Any way, I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for making it. 🙂

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  7. Great post! I too struggle with the empty nest thing….especially since that is also right around the same time my husband of 24 years decided marriage was no longer what he wanted. I find myself praying a lot and finding the need to step back and realize that my married daughter is now an adult and I can’t have the same expectations of her that I did when she was single and living at home. Yes, I see many changes…..some so different than her “pre-marriage” self… but I also see maturing and lots of good changes as well. Probably the biggest change is that I need to learn to keep a cork in my mouth more in order to not offend or alienate! Hang in there! 🙂


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