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?