The View From The Loft – September 2018

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If you are not one, you probably know one … an EMPTY NESTER.

It’s that time of the year when we are all reminded of one of the great circles of life.  We bring the cute little babies home from the hospital, we nurture them, we feed them, we entertain them, we educate them and then … they LEAVE.  As hard as it is to accept, we all know that’s what is supposed to happen. If an eagle can kick her babies out the nest on top of a cliff or a lioness can abandon her cubs in the wilds of Africa, will somebody please explain to me what is supposed to be so traumatic about the Kappa Kappa Gamma house at Georgia?

This process of cutting the cord with the kids would be unbearable if it were not for God’s divine plan.  I ran across a hilarious comedienne this weekend, Leanne Morgan, who summed it up better than anyone I’ve ever heard.  She believes, as I do from experience, that God makes teenagers so mean and obnoxious as they approach high school graduation that it softens the blow when they leave.  Experts will tell you that the 17-18 year old is frightened by the uncertainties ahead of them, which is why they are always defensive and are prone to lashing out at the least stimulus.  Ok, I’ll give you that one.

I’m just still trying to figure out how I can recite of list of fifteen things we have in the house for breakfast, that does not include banana pancakes, on the one specific day that her taste buds are primed for banana pancakes and that warrants every door in the house being slammed along with a lecture about why I ask what she wants if I don’t have it.  Thank God for college. Scream at the lady in the dining hall and see what happens!

I know this from experience.  I found myself widowed when my daughter was 13 years old.  I know you just went OHHHHH, and I appreciate that. However, from reading my column you can probably tell that my key to survival in life is strong faith in whatever you believe in and the ability to find something humorous in every part of life.  If you can’t smile and even laugh at yourself and your situation, you are in for a long agonizing journey that nobody gets out of alive, so I say enjoy.

As a single father of a teenage girl, I got both sides of it.  I got the Dad stuff and the Mom stuff. I even called my buddy who is a psychiatrist and asked for an appointment to discuss the fact that my high school senior daughter had not spoken a civil word to me in months and that now I was over being hurt, I was just plain …you know!  His listened to me on the phone carefully and then responded, “Let me save you $500. You have successfully made it through the grieving process and you are now the proud owner of a seventeen year old girl who is doing exactly what seventeen year old girls are supposed to do.”

Here is the GOOD NEWS.  In twelve short years she went to college, got in a sorority, had a debutante season, graduated, got a job, got married, bought a house and has turned into an absolutely stunning, sweet, kind, generous adult human being who I’d rather have dinner with than anybody in the world.

You’ll make it  … I did.

(Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationists, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jm choose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.)

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