Tag: empty nest (page 1 of 12)

A big pat on the back

Dear Karen,

I’ve been reading a lot recently, about parents saying teary farewells to their children heading off for university this autumn.

Do you remember those days?  I do.  Like they were yesterday.  It was tough,  but we got through it in the end. And chances are, so will those parents.  Maybe they’ll do it with a bit more dignity and decorum than I?  One can only hope.   Continue reading

In the empty nest, pets are people too

Dear Wendy,

After the kids leave home, we tend to think a lot about our very human emotions: loss of purpose, loneliness, a sense of aimlessness. Some of us grieve this new phase of our lives, while others stand up, beat our chests and yell, “Bring it on! I am so ready for this!”

Not that I would know about this.

The one thing we tend to forget? Our four-legged friends. Because when it comes to the empty nest, pets are people too. Continue reading

Downsizing Survival Tips

Dear Wendy,

I’m starting to feel like a pro at this whole downsizing thing. In fact, I think I’m almost ready to give lessons. Continue reading

Kids packing for college? You’ll be okay.

Dear Readers,

Two years ago this week, my youngest child was in the final stages of getting ready to leave for her first year of college…and I was, how shall we put this, freaking the hell out. Continue reading

My so-called empty nest

Dear Wendy,

alt="IMAGE-empty-nest-revolving-door-after-the-kids-leave"It seems a little bit strange to be writing about the empty nest when my youngest kid is sitting next to me playing Sims on her computer, but summer’s almost half over, and the new school year is only a month away.

Last year at this time I remember musing about my first year with no kids living at home—Adrian had been living on his own for about 10 years, Rachel had finished her first year of college, and I was feeling kind of cocky about having survived that dreaded first plunge into childlessness.

Well, temporary childlessness.

Because, as I now know, they come back. That was actually Lesson 1: this whole “going away to college” thing isn’t the real thing. Sure, we call it “the empty nest,” but it’s really more like “the temporary lull.” The real empty nest will happen in a few more years, when degrees have been handed out, jobs and first apartments acquired.

I know this, but I’m not thinking about it too hard. Call it denial, but I prefer to think of it as “living in the moment.”

Empty nest, full nest

Right now we’re in the revolving door stage, at least with our youngest child.

Our year has a particular rhythm now: we spend the summer preparing for the new school year. In early September we drive to Toronto and drop Rachel off at her college. This is a happy-sad time for all of us, and tears are usually involved.

On our return home, everything is suddenly intensely quiet, until Mitchell and I have time to adjust back into our “home alone” routine. But we quickly relearn what it’s like to live as a childless couple again—cooking for two, planning our days around our own schedules, running the dishwasher every couple of days. Of course, we see Adrian a couple of times each week, but he always returns to his own place afterward.

In October Rachel comes home for Thanksgiving weekend, which is always insanely hectic and much too short; then it’s a longish haul until her December break. We have a full month together, and then she’s off again, this time until mid-February, when she’s back for study break; Easter is usually about 6 weeks later; and then we’re making the trip to Toronto once more at the end of April, to bring her back home.

You see what I mean about the revolving door, right?

Right now, we’re in the middle of the pre-back-to-school planning stage, thinking about all the things we need to do before September: courses must be chosen, mountains of laundry must be washed, haircuts must be scheduled (because seriously, when you find a great hairdresser, you don’t mess around with that).

Rachel only has about 10 days left in her summer job (interning at an architectural office), and we’ll be off on a camping trip for a few days, and then it’ll be time to get packing in earnest.

For now, I’m enjoying the temporary chaos of having our youngest at home, but these days it seems that no matter whether she’s here or not, I’m aware that it won’t last long. Change, it seems, really is the only constant.

Love,

Karen

 

 

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