Sunday, July 5, 2015

Welcome to My Emptying Nest

As both Misha and Keely mentioned in their posts in the past few weeks, most of the members of the R8 have picked a journey to explore and write about here on the R8 blog. This journey is one that we’re each currently dealing with on a personal level. So we’ve thought it might be a good idea to share those journeys with you in the hopes that we can learn from each other as we continue down the path that we’ve chosen or that has chosen us.

The journey I find myself in the midst of is the Emptying Nest. Not empty nest yet, because I’ve got one son entering his senior year in high school and one who is entering his sophomore year in high school. But I’ve realized, as my oldest is now beginning his second year in college--and as that middle child prepares for leaving for college in a little over a year--that I’m struggling more than I thought I ever would with this phase.

You see, I’ve always been that woman who coached her college friends to make sure they had a hobby now, before their kids left home, otherwise they’d be lost when the time came. Well, I don’t have a hobby, I have a third profession--I’m an author, besides being a mother and holding down a job for another company--and I’m here to tell you, despite having my own interests, I’m feeling a little lost some days because I’ve realized my time as a full-time mom is finite.

Yes, I know, intellectually, I’ll always be a full-time mom, however, in reality, my boys are beginning to need me less. They’ll be home less. They’ll live somewhere else--maybe even hundreds of miles away from me. I’ll see them and interact with them less than I have for the past nineteen years. And while I’ve never been a mom whose whole life has been centered on my kids and their activities, I still find my axis shifting. The core of who I’ve been over the past almost twenty years is softening, dissolving, and becoming something different. Not a bad thing. However, I’m finding this transition is a hard one for me.

So I hope you’ll stop by over the next few weeks and months to follow my Emptying Nest journey.

This week, however, my nest is quite full. The college son is back home from school for three weeks. The world traveler (my middle son who recently traveled to France) arrived home  on Tuesday. And my youngest, who shattered his second smart phone in as many months, comes home each day dripping of sweat from weight training and football practice. While the three of them drive me nuts most days, I love having them together. We’re heading off for a week together at the beach, and I plan to enjoy every single minute of the bickering, rough-housing, tussling, attitude-ridden, hugs that turn into neck holds, smiles, real hugs, kisses on the cheek, and stolen moments I can get. Now if I can keep them out of the water or at least keep them from becoming shark bait, I’ll count myself lucky.

I’d love to hear your words of wisdom about how you’ve dealt with an emptying nest. Like I said, part of this is for me to learn. From you. And from processing my own emotions and thoughts. Yes, that’s how writers often do it. ;0)

Have a great week! Happy belated 4th of July. Enjoy your summer. And we’ll talk real soon. Hugs!


  1. Powerful post! I was especially struck by the concept that a major part of one's life can be finite. Although I don't have kids of my own, that idea really resonates with me. I'm looking forward to your future posts, and to seeing how this journey shapes your life into something new, something different, but something just as beautiful! Hugs and thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  2. Thanks, Misha. I was surprised by the concept, too. I think while I've held many roles in life, and will continue to do so, that one of the primary roles with which I've identified over the last two decades has been MOTHER. And that role has been more of a core focus than I realized.

  3. Congratulations on the wonderful job you've done to well as the realization that it's a job that never ends. My greatest consolation over the fact I miss my two grown-up chicks every day is that I am so happy - relieved even! - to see them out on their own living their own great adventure. Their separation from my household has also given me more space to pursue who I am ... and I find I like that! Mostly I have learned that motherhood truly is a blessing that continues forever.

  4. Emelle ~ That is good to know. Yours are old enough that they are more established and settling down. How did you survive the years between 18 and 25? That's what I want to know? LoL. These are the years where you see them jump from the nest, but you wonder if they will really learn how to fly. If they will truly survive and make it on their own. Sigh. It will clearly be a journey--and I do think it's as much about my growth during this time as it is theirs. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have a long way to go yet. ;0)

  5. Mackenzie, your heart is an open book this week and your post really touched me. As you know, I don't do all that well with change, either, which is funny because our lives are often nothing but! Enjoy having your young men around you this week and keep us posted as you walk this journey.

  6. I have more understanding today of what my mother must have gone through when my brother and I headed off to grad school and college in August of '89. From having a kid in town and a kid at home, her little peeps were suddenly 750 or so miles away - before Skype, before Facebook, before ubiquitous email and texting.

    I think modern technology helps, but like you say...those moments of "real time" -- the goofing off, the touching, the sheer togetherness -- those are precious gems worth collecting and storing up and loving.

  7. I'm in the midst of this myself so I have not advice. I do think it's important to have other interests and friends. I'm lucky enough to count you as one of them!