31 Dec

The Empty Nest?

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

Both of my boys are in college now, so that’s supposed to leave me with an empty nest.  But instead of having an empty nest in the traditional sense, I really have a home base and two little satellite nests.

Yes, my little birds have flown the coop.  One is in the dorms and the other just rented his first place with roommates.  So they are indeed emptying out my house, taking with them whatever isn’t nailed down and can fit in their car.  My stuff is pretty much all over the place, in 3 different locations.  My family room rug is now in Monterey.  My clothes hangers are hanging in Brian’s closet. Contents of my kitchen cupboards get shipped to these new addresses.

Instead of their voices bellowing across the room, they now summon me by text message.  I hear from them just as often, but now instead of walking into their rooms for a chat, I have to type in bird-speak to get a response.  R U OK?  I ask.  ☺ they text me back.

When they were little, everyone told me that the time would go by quickly.  I didn’t believe those people.  Never look at a harried mother lugging two kids in car seats to the dry cleaner and tell her how magical this time is.  She’s not going to buy it.  But now I look back and it’s all a blur.  Not only did my kids change so much during this time, I changed.  And I changed because of my kids.  I have never faced such challenges, or found so much strength within myself as I did when my kids were growing up.  You’ve heard about the mom with so much adrenalin running through her that she can pick up a car to save her baby  well, most moms do something like that every day.  Either it’s dealing with the parents of the playground bully, or convincing a teacher that there really is such a thing as AD/HD.  It can be taking the baby in for vaccinations, or signing your teen up for Drivers Ed.  It takes courage, and patience, and definitely endurance.  The rewards are the hugs, and the smiles.  What price can you put on a first self-tied show, or a green belt in karate?  When you’re in it you feel like it will last forever.  But the time goes by, more quickly that you ever could have anticipated.

When the kids move out of the house, it is really empty?  Mine will never be.  Mine is filled with memories and laughter and gym socks that will turn up for years.  The birds will flock home with laundry and leave with groceries.  I’ll go to visit their new nests, making sure they’re downy soft and comfortable.  And I’ll treasure the texts that say Luv u mom.

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