I first became a pseudo empty nester a few years ago when my oldest daughter had moved out, and my son and younger daughter were in college. Andy and I got a taste of it. And, though parts of it tasted sweet, lots of it tasted sour (to me).
It all had to do with the mom thing. Us moms! Most of us really have to adjust to the empty nest.
One day I got a phone call. It was an exchange student organization, looking for homes for the upcoming school year.
“I don’t have kids at home anymore,” I said.
“Oh, then you could take two students!”
We took two exchange students.
And Alex graduated from college and moved home.
Partway through the year, Tracey moved back home for financial reasons.
The only person not here was Kelly. I now had more kids at home than I had when I was raising my kids. And I loved it!
Since then, the exchange students have gone back at home. I still miss them some days. Tracey’s dog had puppies and we kept one. It’s been a busy year raising him. Tracey brought home an injured kitten we raised from 2 days old, and a momma cat and her newborns who stayed here for 8 weeks until they all found new homes. Alex got a job an hour from home and moved out. Kelly got a co-op close to home and moved home for 6 months, then stayed for the summer. It’s been a busy time.
Until yesterday. Yesterday Kelly moved back to Boston for her final school year. She tells us she doesn’t plan on living at home after she graduates. Tracey and Stella moved into an apartment. It looks like we are officially empty nesters. And guess what? This time, the taste is sweet. I’m tired. I’m ready for a quieter life on most days. Course, I still have 2 dogs, 2 cats and a chicken to care for, so it’s not going to be that quiet.
I do believe, though, that even if you transition to a life without your kids, they are still always with you. Just tonight, as Columbus drank out of my water glass, I quipped,
“Why I eyes ya….” This is a phrase from a Youtube video about a talking cat that Kelly picked up and always said instead of “why I oughta….”
And Columbus. He’s part of Tracey’s kennel, even though he’s my dog. And he reminds me of Stella. And there is the painted “life” wall in Tracey’s room. And all the race numbers pinned to Kelly’s running shirts that Kelly turned into a wall border in her room. And I think of Alex every time I go downstairs and work out next to his weight bench (which I’m sure he’ll take some day).
It may really be an empty nest now, but the kids are still here.