Deserted Nest

We’re a house in transition these days. Nathan, our oldest, has just gotten engaged to the greatest girl in the world. He moved out and lives with some friends now but his engagement to Lindsay feels like not only the first step on the road to becoming grandparents (a long road I hope) but we’ve also invoked a ‘no return’ policy.

And now our son Josh is planning to move out and take his second year of University at St. Thomas, about 4 hours away from us. I’m trying to get my head and heart around all this but when I walk by him in the kitchen and realize that he’s counting the days left on the calendar between today and “moving day” I can’t help but get a little more depressed.

When Nathan moved out for a 9 month stay in Belfast, N. Ireland, the elusive Donna cried all 3.5 hours home from the airport.

And the rest of that day, the next day and a couple others.

When Nathan’s alarm clock, left behind but still set to wake him up to get to the airport in time, went off the morning after he flew away, I made my way down to his old room, found the clock, turned it off and had myself a nice little cry.

When Josh moves out I’ll lose someone who laughs at the same stuff I laugh at, tells great stories, is dependable, and listens to better music than I do but is willing to share and always gives me something to think about.

And then it will be just me and the women. I will be in the minority. The balance of power will shift. The remote will most likely have the TV locked on shows about wedding dresses, cake baking challenges and movies that have romantic sounding titles.

Adding injury to an already bleeding heart, my daughter reminded me at the dinner table that she’s going into grade 11 next month. 11 as in 11, 12 and then bu-bye!

Ultimately I know this is why we started this adventure. If Nate was still in diapers and drinking from a baby bottle I’d have worse problems to blog about. This is all good and it is exciting and satisfying on some level. Most of my days aren’t on that level at the moment though.

The other day we had kids. Today we’ve got adults. I’m proud of all three.

I wish I would’ve taken more pictures.

So what do you do to keep the connection with the kids or the ‘rents alive and well?

About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in children, empty nest, Family, getting old, Life, love, Meaning, parenting, Reflective, Relationship. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Deserted Nest

  1. Don Rousu says:

    Ruth started crying about the empty nest long before it ever happened. Knowing her style of non-manipulative motherhood, I predicted that her tears were for nothing, that they’d all be back — often. I wasn’t suprised when my words proved to be right. They all came back, and keep coming, most at least once a week. And when the kids don’t come back, they leave an earnest payment of grandchildren to guarantee their return.

    Like you, we left all our family in the States to anounce the Kingdom in Canada. There was some sense of loss for our kids not being raised with frequent exposure to grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Our own kids resolved that this generation would be different — that it is time to consolidate. Perhaps you will be blessed with the “alternation of generations”. The only thing that would trump that is the parousia! Maranatha.

    • brianmpei says:

      That would be a homecoming Don! We’re a little afraid we’re in the wrong part of the country to expect a whole lot of returning! Donna, though has been ready for grandkids for at least 5 years now!

  2. We have been empty nesters for 8 years… My road was a bit different and it was a heavy price.. But the kids become more like friends. Still repectful and honoring but now talking eye to eye, man to man… It is not easy.. It is a trail of tears…

  3. Judy says:

    I can only pray that ours (when they eventually fly the nest – WILL they ever fly the nest??) will do so equipped to handle what the world throws at them, as your boys are.

    Our girls are 18 (can’t wait to be 21) and almost 21 (wishes she was 10 again.) If God says YES to my prayers and they’re ready to launch out, are living for Him, have jobs and good relationships, leave on good terms, and are willing to stay in touch – a large part of me will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Sometimes I think I feel (but only in part) like Bill Cosby’s character Cliff Huxtable did – “I figured out what the kids want, Claire. They want the house. Let’s let them have the house – and you and I can run away together and not tell them where we’re going.”

    And another part of me will miss them terribly. Letting go is a process and I have had to start the process now so that I can celebrate their being able to fly rather than trying to keep them in a nest they’ve outgrown. Time alone will tell what my reaction will be.

    On another note, by way of encouragement, my husband lives with 3 women: me and our 2 daughters. He has adopted Jeff Foxworthy’s statement, “I live in the estrogen ocean.” Since our youngest daughter’s boyfriend moved in with us in January, hubby has kind of gotten some moral support. But for many years, he was the lone testosterone island in a girly sea of clothes, shoes, makeup, and frilly things. And he survived.

    We all go through stages in our lives. As with all things, this too shall pass.

    • brianmpei says:

      At some level this is payback for the fact that I couldn’t wait to get away from home. I was raised by two great parents in a great place but always dreamed of getting away on adventures. Now the idea of a small town where everybody knows each other and things move at a slow but steady pace sounds pretty sweet. I will enjoy this ‘estrogen ocean’ as long as it lasts!

  4. njm says:

    I read once, that when you love someone and set them free, they will return. We all want our children to grow up to be independent and free thinkers, and then when they do, we have to let them go. We did, and we now have two wonderful sons, who gave us two wonderful daughters,(not just daughters-in-law) and so far, four of the most loving, wonderful, smartest, talented grandchildren in this world. We are looking forward to the addition of another wonderful grandaughter in June. Lots to look forward to. So yes, there are payback, that open a part of a parents/grandparents heart that you are not even aware of, until that first grandchild.. ……..Oh, yeah, paybacks… “Bring em on.”

  5. Shelley Perry says:

    the first years are the roughest with the transition from child to adult and the change in relationship that comes along with that. HOWEVER, speaking from personal experience, my relationship with my parents is better than it has ever been now that that transition is behind us. We are equals and friends and that has yielded great rewards. 🙂 I think the best is yet to come for you, Donna, and the “kids”.

    but i may shed a few tears in the process with you…!

  6. Chris says:

    This is a challenge that I know nothing about, but I have heard some stories and I think you’ll be alright. The part that worries me most is that you can only watch so many hours of wedding dress shopping and home renovations before going insane, it’s a fact. To avoid this tragic fate I think that it is almost mandatory for you to buy a motorcycle, sports car, or even just an unnecessarily large barbecue to compensate. If not let me know, we can go see action movies with absolutely no story line and gratuitous slow motion explosions on a regular basis.

  7. Claire Muir says:

    Hey Brian,
    I’m out of the loop here, haven’t “read” you in awhile.
    Love this post. It’s kind of right where I’m at too…
    I went through my rough time in the fall when Emma STARTED gr 12…wow it was like I hit a wall. By the time June came around, I just wanted it over with!
    But now she’s all graduated and working in Lake Louise for the summer…this momma has come a long way!
    Now I think, well, 3 yrs and Ashley will be gone, 2 yrs after that perhaps the mortgage too! hahah! FREEEEEDDOOOOOMMM!
    But yes, I plan on enjoying the next stage/stages in my relationship with the girls. As I have with my wonderful stepkids and grandkids(all 10 of them)…
    Life is nothing if not evolving all around us…
    Thanks Brian.

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