Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Empty nest now getting filled up again

By
From page A2 | January 25, 2014 |

Remember dropping your first kid off at college? It was like a knife wound, right? Never thought you’d recover, never thought you’d ever be the same tribe rambling around in the family wagon on weekends again – which was true. Once you let them out of the cage like that, you never really get them back in that same cozy way.

But just when you come to terms with the change and adjust to a less kid-centric life, they are back.

Suddenly, the nest is no longer empty.

My life was once a convention of crying babies. Now, 25 years later, my life is a convention of adult children living back home – of hangovers and job woes, of sleeping too late on Saturday mornings (them, not me).

There is almost a poetry to the parental plight. There is the joy of birth, the insane sacrifices of raising them, the poignancy of their eventual departure.

Now, just as we come to terms with that departure, our adult children are flooding back home, an estimated 22 million of them. Parenthood, as they say, doesn’t come with an expiration date; it’s a raucous life term.

The issues forcing adult kids to move home with Mom and Dad are unlike anything Americans have ever seen – a co-dependency brought on by economic shifts, lifestyle changes, technology and a bent (and unsettling) pop culture.

Think of this phenomenon as a sort of domestic recidivism.

Look no further than the almond milk in our fridge and coconut water in the pantry – all the weird serums of returning college grads. The almond milk I understand (the secretions of the mother almond). Coconut water is more of a mystery. Suddenly c-water is everywhere. What’s next, coconut Pinot Noir?

Still, I am thrilled to have the college girl home. She is a delightful presence – summer in her smile and autumn in her hair. A freckled Kennedy ingenue.

It’s a joy to see her adapt to the working world. In a marvelous development, she was employed soon after returning home, requiring the full-time use of my car. So I gained a daughter and lost an aging Prussian sedan. I see it as a sort of pre-dowry.

“When I get married, can I have a Monique Lhuillier wedding dress?” she asked the other day.

“Of course you can,” I said. “Here, take my teeth too.”

When we moved to California 20 years ago, I’d never even heard of Los Angeles. But soon I was smitten, and with a few small additions – a mass transit system, some decent Greek food – I can one day see L.A. developing into a first-rate metropolis rivaling St. Louis or Sacramento.

So this is where we’ve stayed, raising four, maybe five, children. In particular, I’ve always loved the mayhem of a loud, hectic kitchen – the rattle of someone reaching for a pan, the thuddle-wump of a wood spoon in a steamy vat of soup.

With three kids now back home, it’s again like one of those Steve Martin movies where the dog bounds across the breakfast table chasing the cat that’s chasing the hamster. If I can get the kids to close the door when they go to the bathroom, my life will be complete.

“Wonder if there’s a fire?” the 10-year-old explains about the open door.

Flush then flee, I explain.

Gets better. Now that the college girl is back home, I get to watch “The Bachelor” with her. I like her well enough, as I said, but her taste in television is trailer-trash atrocious, the kind of shows watched by old housewives who can no longer hear.

“All stories are Cinderella stories,” my daughter says while we watch “The Bachelor.”

Except mine.

But I don’t think this re-nesting is such an awful development really, probably positive in some ways, for family is the cornerstone of life. I’ve also noticed that adult children don’t back out of hugs after two seconds, the way they usually did as teens.

What I don’t like is when your children go off somewhere far, which they can and should when absolutely necessary, as in times of world war or rampant apocalypse.

Except for then, I want them home, filling the kitchen with their belly laughs, like the war whoops of doomed Scottish kings.

Back home, where they really sort of belong.

Chris Erskine is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Reach him at chris.erskine@latimes.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Get your blues on – for a musical cause

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Area churches bring joy, toys to children

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

.

US / World

San Francisco creates court only for veterans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

California plane crash victims were father and son

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

California officials issue caramel apple warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
US traveler released from East Timor jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 13 Comments

Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments | Gallery

Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

 
‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

 
Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Thomas A. O’Neill

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9