We’ve had an empty nest for a few years now. It seems as though it was just yesterday that our youngest son ventured off to college to seek his future dreams. Even though my husband and I have settled into a comfortable routine, I still have rough days. I don’t cry or sulk but a heavy cloud of self doubt and longing to be needed comes over me. I guess it’s probably worse when I don’t see the kids often or I’m experiencing a bit of cabin fever. I’m starting to read self help books again, thinking of joining a meditation circle and dreaming of hard work and gardening in May and June. I know I’ll be okay…I have to remember this is a process and it’s time to get to know who myself, the part I lost while raising kids.❤️🥰
Spare Room Ideas
Since our youngest son graduates from college next May, I can’t help thinking about transforming his room once he settles into a job and permanent place to live. His room is quite large with a huge closet. It faces north with two windows which brings in much light.
I think I’d like to move our guest bed in there along with a matching bureau and chest and mirror. In the corner I want to build a craft table to make crafts with a shelf for storage on the top.
The little spare room that houses our guest bed now will be changed into an office. It faces the south of the house overlooking our driveway and winding road. It has a little closet that we keep different coats and boots in as well as some Christmas decorations.
My husband and I want to move our desk from our bedroom into the office as well as a file cabinet that houses documents and papers. I don’t know what else we will do in there, either a small chair and ottoman or a love seat for tranquil reading.
December is here and with it is a busy rush of Christmas festivities and preparations. Soon my mom and I will pick up my son in Cambridge to come home for Christmas. It seems later this year and will be a few days shy of the big day. With him being home, it will be noisy again. I like that…having our kids home makes both Tom and I content. We enjoy our kids, talk with them and cherish our moments together.
Tom and I have always picked up our youngest son from college for the Thanksgiving holiday. This year he’s taking the Concord Coach bus from South Station in Boston to head up north, to home. While I’m a bit disappointed from not being able to share the ride with him, I am relieved that I won’t have to fight traffic in Cambridge a few days shy of Thanksgiving. I’ll have to pick him up at a local bus stop on Wednesday and bring him home. It will be a special day of cooking and talking with my sister in law and friend Bev. The next day our family will have our dinner at noon and dessert later in the afternoon, when our oldest son and his wife will arrive.
It’s amazing how proud a parent is, when you learn of your children’s accomplishments and new opportunities. A few weeks ago Dylan, our oldest son, got a new job at a local Wiremill with good pay and benefits. He is happy as a mechanic there and is making metal parts for the machines. We are so proud of him…now he’s married, successfully employed and now looking at buying a house.
This photo is of Dylan and Alexis on August 18th. They married in a quaint meadow in our small town with about 100 family and friends in attendance. It was a special day for them and proud moment for Tom and I as well as Lexy’s mom and her significant other and her dad and stepmom.
Welcome fall and a quiet house with my husband and I alone. But wait…yesterday our son informed us he’s coming home this weekend! Time to get his bed and room ready! Time to stock cupboards and plan for food for him to bring back. It will be fun having him home, seeing his bedroom lights lit up and hearing his energetic stories of life in Cambridge.
Life is good. I’m looking forward to seeing him over the weekend!
Many things have been happening this summer, especially in our youngest’s future. Branden has a full time job at Lowe’s and is saving his money for college. He and his girlfriend Jojo found a cute little apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just a few minutes away from their college Lesley University. Jojo is majoring in Photography and Branden in Animation.
It’s exciting to see them starting their lives, especially since it may be their home for awhile. Our son told us that next summer he wouldn’t come back home as he will be doing an internship and working in Cambridge. I must admit I’m a bit sad, being the mom with the thick apron strings. Although I acknowledge those feelings, the happiness far exceeds the sadness as I know he’s very happy to be living near Boston and pursuing his dream of being an animator.
photo credits, Jojo Anderson
I’m picking up my son today for a quick weekend home before he takes finals. The best part is the entertaining conversations in the car and out to eat. These are precious to me. I think we parents look forward to these times, special one on one time to visit and catch up on happenings. It’s been a stressful time for my son as he’s waiting for admission to Lesley University. I’m anxious to see what the financial aid statement will show and then it’s smooth sailing until he moves in, in the fall.
When your child goes to college, you still carry their load on your back. You still worry about what happens or what doesn’t. A few days ago my son found out at the last moment in the semester that his college is bankrupt and closing, possibly hosting a sell out to a Massachusetts university. Needless to say, his dreams are interrupted and there’s an unsure road of his college future. What usually takes months of planning, touring, interviewing, sitting in on classes has to take a mere few weeks. His four year scholarship is gone and the financial worry clouds his bright future. Instead of being bitter and calling my attorney, as many parents have, I choose to focus on helping my son and his girlfriend. I’ve researched possible colleges and sent messages to admissions to ask if the will waiver admission fees and deadlines, helping these destitute students. They need our support and love as they pick up the pieces and move on.
Here’s a little advice when you can take advantage of having a college student. Have your student sign up for Amazon Prime student and keep your information together so that you both can share the account. It’s $6.50 a month, less than a month of Netflix. I pay the fee and we both reap the benefits. With Amazon Prime, you get hundreds of streamed movies, free Kindle books, songs and photo storage. When you order from Amazon you get free two day shipping on all orders. We think it’s worth the fee and we can enjoy all the movies in the meantime.
Also if your student had Spotify Student they receive free Hulu, something else you can piggyback on.
It’s college break and our son has been home for a couple of weeks. Today Tom and I dropped off our college son at the train station for a trip south to his girlfriend’s house. It makes me so happy to see him thrilled, excited and independent for his first train ride. See my main page soon for A First Train Ride post.
This letting go feeling is getting easy for me! Although he’s grown and found his wings, he still loves home and us. I wish a year ago I would have been able to foresee this…for I would’ve instantly felt a wave of relief. Thank God for life’s lessons…for they make us who we are. This empty nest lesson has revealed a new perspective, one of a strong mom who is living her life while her grown men are paving their paths. I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Here we are almost emerged into December! Can you believe that the Thanksgiving holiday is already in the past? We just enjoyed our family together and having our youngest son home from college. I think he enjoyed his bed and his room while he was home. He watched Christmas Vacation with us and we all laughed at Chevy Chase’s antics. No sooner had the vacation started then it was time to turn around and go back to college.
I think Branden was anxious to get back and settled. As he unlocked his dorm room I commented on how happy he must be to be back at home. ” It’s not like home, mom!” This surprised me! It shouldn’t have though, for I’ve been far away from home and missed it so much that I cried sometimes at night. Even if it was a very long time ago I still remember the longing to be back home! I know our son loves college and enjoys the classes and culture, even so, it’s still not home. Honestly it fills my heart that he still has a love for home and as long as he wants it, his room will be here waiting.
In three weeks we do the journey south again to pick Branden up for Christmas vacation. I look forward to opening his door, getting his bed ready and talking to him during supper. It’s these little things that make me content.
11/10/17 Just ten more days until I pick up my son for the short Thanksgiving holiday! Yay! For a few days his room will be lived in with laundry on the floor and an unmade bed. Yet, this is far much better than the lonely ghost town it resembles now! The bed is neatly made and clothes are tucked into drawyers in an awkward silence.
What I love about this holiday is the reunion of family. We talk, reminisce and laugh at our dining room table. We indulge in food and eat with vigor…for that’s what you do. While enjoying my family under the same roof, my heart swells with gratefulness for them and our healthy relationships.
I can imagine that other moms and dads are looking forward to their college pick ups and family being together. What we can hope for is that our sons and daughters will always come home where ever they are or end up. I pray that my sons and their future families will always feel at home here and know that they are loved.
As I wrap this post up, I’m working on planning a half day off for the journey south to pick up my son. There will be heavy traffic and other families traveling for the holiday. I expect a backpack crammed of homework and an overflowing hamper of dirty laundry. This is okay, it’s what I do…help my son and indulge in his company for a few fleeting days. It’s a chance to catch up with each other and make precious memories at the same time.
Blessings to you all. I truly hope you will connect with family or friends for Thanksgiving! 🙏
Remember that letting your kids go means during the summer when they come home! I’ve jumped right back into my motherly routine of doing my son’s laundry, packing his lunch for work and helping him get up in the morning. But is this healthy for me and for him? I know it’s not but I’m a work in progress and the good news is that I do see this and that’s the first step to changing it!
Branden has been house sitting for a friend’s family and taking care of their dog, cat and chickens. It’s his first house sitting experience and he seems psyched for it. I have to admit that I kind of had a hard time wrapping my brain around it, especially since he has my car over there overnight.
Even so, it’s happening all week. Something clicked within me last night when my son messaged me, involving me with his plans for feeding the pets and getting ready for his job at Lowe’s. Suddenly I was impressed that he was so responsible and paying close attention to details. He isn’t a little boy to tuck in at night but a grown man with responsibilities and a strong work ethic. So now I’m completely okay with his house sitting detail, him having my car and the continuous learning of how to cut the apron strings. Because I have faith in him and his capabilities!
I may continue to do some laundry to help him out but may think twice before doing the rest…for he is certainly capable and has earned it! Let me know if you have a similar situation or if you have learned to back off of your college student. I’m anxious to hear your story.
One year ago…
It’s approaching a month since my husband and I dropped off our youngest son at college. Already I’m learning fast about how this works and about myself.
First of all, I do bear a resemblance to a grown woman with a life other than the labels mother, wife, house maid, cook, laundry assistant, taxi, you get the idea, right? I am still doing and living these roles, yet a new woman is emerging now. A woman who wants to experience life without constant house work or obligations. I’ve started working more on writing and blogging, which is very exciting for me! Secondly this is time for my husband and I. We have a mere two years together alone and twenty with children. We don’t know any other life without the closeness and obligations of parenting a family, until now.
Now the bedrooms are empty and ours is the only occupied one. We have found a freedom of sorts, to do what we want without parenting restrictions. Most nights lately we eat watching tv, a stark difference from the table. It’s liberating to do it and laugh, all the while trusting that our sons will be okay in their new lives and we will as well. We go for car rides and relish the country scenery. What ever we long to do, we do now!
A year later…Summer 2017
We are fast approaching September 4th, the date my husband and I drop off our youngest at college. He will be a Sophomore majoring in Animation with a desire to work on movies.
I look back at myself a year ago and I see uncertainty and sadness for the empty nest I faced. All I knew was to be an involved mother and suddenly it was being jerked out of my grip, putting myself in the spotlight. Even though I cried a few times and felt the loneliness without my sons being here, I also felt ” a new lease on life”. There were so many possibilities that I could pursue and would have more time to try them without the daily mothering.
Dont get me wrong, I am still an involved mother but have given up much of my hold and given it to God. Let Him protect them daily, let them live their young lives with the tools Tom and I gave them.
Tom and I will drop off Branden in a few weeks with a busting car load of dorm items and necessities. I anticipate it being a smoother and less emotional day compared to last year. There will be a lunch together, lots of hugs and reassurances that all will be well from our son. Then we will head home for our empty nest again…a way of life we got used to until May, when our son came home for the summer.
For all you empty nest mom’s out there, remember that ” this too shall pass” and that the sad and out of control feelings will die. Hopefully they will be replaced with happiness, liberation, and a new marriage for you and your husband. It’s an exciting adventure without the children and remember this…they will always come home!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul