Our Kids Drove Us Crazy

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Did They Succeed?

Annette: We retired to Phoenix not long after the kids moved out. Ever since they left, I've had the time and energy to do what I really want in life. I take painting classes, and I'm a certified yoga teacher. I also continue to see a therapist. I feel it helps strengthen my self-image. Michael: We each keep evolving and growing and so does our relationship. We're independent in many ways, but we appreciate each other's interests. We have a great lifestyle. I'm consulting part-time, I play bridge often, and take classes in philosophy and history. Annette and Michael talk to their children on the phone almost every day. Mark, now 36, is a psychiatrist in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Robyn, now 35, lives in Denver; she's an accountant who's married with three children. Michael: The great thing is that Mark and Robyn are glad that Annette insisted that they grow up and move out. They see now that she wasn't being selfish, and so do I.

Annette: As a family, we're closer now than ever. I think that's because we all have our own lives and we're not in each other's hair. Michael: And Annette and I are now on the same wavelength; I have to admit, she was so right about the pleasures of an empty nest. Annette: Well, it's not exactly empty! We have the "granddogs" -- Thelma and Violet, and two new puppies, Rosi and Luci. It's funny, but once the kids and their dogs were gone, I realized I missed having pets of my own. I'm still cleaning carpets from an accident or two, but I don't mind, because this time, it was my choice to have them. Life is a work in progress, and change is what it's all about.


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