Really, truly empty nest.


I find myself in a strange and confusing place tonight.

This is the tail end of my first true “empty nest summer”.  I have been home for the past eight weeks because I am a teacher, but unlike the previous 19 summers, I have not had any children here with me. I haven’t had the usual trips to the zoo, the beach, the mountains. There was no family vacation.

It’s been a summer of learning how to be by myself, of learning to fill each day with gardening, dog walking, reading, writing and thinking.  And some good Netflix films.    It was hard, and I didn’t love it, but I got through the eight long weeks in reasonably good shape.

Of course, Paul and I made sure to schedule a lot of fun this summer.  And I made plans with a lot of old and new friends, so that the days of sitting at home on the couch were relatively rare.

Still, it was hard to be here all day knowing that no one would ask for a snack, or a ride or a bandaid or a hug.  This was my summer of learning how to live as a “post Mommy Mother”.  This was my summer of waking up and NOT listening for sleeping children.  This was my summer to grow up and get over it.

And all of this brings me to today.

Paul and our boys are off on a three day hike.  Tim slept here the night before they left, so that he could help Paul to pack. Which means that I woke up on Sunday morning knowing that he was in the room next door.  My heart was full as I sipped my coffee, waiting for him to wake up and join me.  It was a little bit of “the old days” and I loved it. A lot.

On Sunday morning, the men headed off on their adventure, and Kate and I went to a Christening for a sweet new baby.  We had a wonderful day with friends, and shared a lot of laughs and jokes as I showed her my “NonniWannabe” self, dying to have a grandchild of my own.

And on Sunday night, last night, she slept here at our house.  Once again, I woke up knowing that one of my children was breathing in the room next to mine.  Once again, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with one of my own.

Today both Kate and I spent hours in our classrooms, getting ready for the rapidly approaching new school year. I put in a whole lot of hours moving furniture, unpacking boxes, stocking shelves and cabinets.  My back and shoulders are so sore now that I can barely type.  OUCH, in a big way. Just OUCH.

And I am now at home, on my couch, feet up and ibuprofin dissolving in my bloodstream.

And there is no other human here with me.  The boys and Paul are still on their hike, and Kate has gone back to her own place.

No one needs me to cook. No one needs me to nurture or comfort or chat or listen or hug.

And it is pure bliss.

I can sit back, enjoy my ice pack, and just indulge my own aches and pains.

The nest is really, really empty.  And I am really, really glad.

10 thoughts on “Really, truly empty nest.

      • I didn’t. We take our youngest back to college this morning. Since we are living back in our family house (instead of the tiny empty nest in Sausalito we rented when he left last year), it’s going to be really strange to be here without him (or any children) around. I may start up my blog again. 🙂

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      • Well, that would most definitely be a big plus for all of us!!
        Good luck with your adjustment….
        All kidding aside, I still miss my crew on a daily basis.
        But I did enjoy last night alone (maybe because I knew that everyone will be back here this evening and I can cook up a storm.)

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  1. Found your blog through grownandflown and really enjoyed reading your posts! While I do have my three oldest in college (senior son and twin daughters who are juniors), our “baby” is in 8th grade so I’m not quite at empty nest. I just sent your links to a friend who is also a teacher because I know she will find a kindred spirit in you! Thanks for sharing your heart – we all need to know we’re not alone with these feelings.

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    • Welcome, I’m so glad that you found me! Thank you for reading, and for sharing, and for taking the time to comment. I am in awe of anyone who is managing three college students at once…yikes!!
      Best of luck with the “moving back” in the next week or so, and enjoy every moment with that young one!

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  2. I am catching up on your blog. There are many times I long for that peace and quiet, where it is all about me, and I can do whatever I want without interruption. And then when I do have those moments, I feel as though something is missing because it’s too quiet and no one needs me. Us Mommies can’t win. Glad you got to have both: your Mommy time and your alone time.

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