The power-career parents among us--famous politicians and actresses--don't just feel that empty-feeling when their kids leave home; they also temper their career moves around their coming-of-age children. Like us, they do not take empty nesting lightly. At least that's what struck me when I read a Q and A conversation between a New York Times columnist (my personal fave, Philip Galanes) and two famous moms: Julia Louis-Dreyfus [Elaine on Seinfeld, the Vice Prez on Veep] and Nancy Pelosi [the first woman to be speaker of the House).
In that conversation, Pelosi talks about having five children in six years and waiting to run for Congress until her youngest was in high school. When asked about "pangs of sadness that four of your five kids had flown the coop" when she finally ran, Pelosi said:
NP: I have a very specific answer: Three of my children were at Georgetown when I went to Washington.
JLD: So, that’s why you ran for Congress!
NP: I could never have done it otherwise. I could never have left home. But when they went away to college, they basically said: “Mother, you’re in Congress; we’re in college. Why don’t you forget we’re in the same city?” They didn’t want me, but I was still hoping to see them.
PG: Kids are monsters.
JLD: No, that’s appropriate.
NP: When I first ran for Congress, I went to my daughter Alexandra, who was going to be a senior in high school, and said: “I have a chance to run. I may not win, but I’d be gone three nights a week. So, if you want me to stay, I’ll be happy to.” And do you know what she said to me? “Mother, get a life!”
As to Julila Louis-Dreyfus, Galanes asked her if having her oldest child leave for college was "as hard in real life as you made it look in the movie “Enough Said”?
JLD: It was hard for sure ...
PG: When your character in that film takes her daughter to the airport, the sniffles echoed through the theater.
JLD: It was a momentous occasion in our family when our eldest left for college. We were intellectually prepared for it, but not emotionally. It was a big whack to the brain. And by the way, he’s graduating in May.
NP: It goes by fast.
JLD: As parents, we don’t completely understand that we are raising these creatures to leave us. They have to. But you don’t get that until it happens.