A "Sudden Empty Nest" In My House This Year

A Favorite Place

This is a good place for me to go and think.  This is Laguna Beach in California.  Where my parents are moving to, though not on the beach!  I will miss them, and wish I could go here to sort through all my thoughts. A calming, wonderful place.
This is a good place for me to go and think. This is Laguna Beach in California. Where my parents are moving to, though not on the beach! I will miss them, and wish I could go here to sort through all my thoughts. A calming, wonderful place. | Source

There are many changes in our lives this year

This is going to be an interesting year for our family, as we have so many changes coming up. I understand that life changes all of the time, and that kids grow up, and that there was a day when we would face an "empty nest." I am not complaining, by the way. To the contrary, I am so thankful and know I ought to embrace all that is happening. I am, to the best of my ability.

This article is more of our story as it us unfolding. I know that some might have a sudden empty nest for reasons that are very sad or upsetting. Our story just seems so sudden, with some added details that I couldn't have seen in advance.

To others along their process of raising kids, perhaps it is helpful to see one family's story of how things played out. Sometimes, it helps to give perspective on a very hard day, or give a bit of wisdom on how you may do something similar or different for your own family. Somehow, it helps to share the story, of a very human experience that I know so many others have had before. Again, I am thankful, and always will be. Sometimes, it just takes the heart and mind a while to absorb everything, as our feelings can be quite interesting things sometimes!

My Great Aunt Betty and other Family Members

I titled this photo, Lemons and love!  This is my Great Aunt Betty, who passed away a couple of months ago.  I am heartbroken at that loss as well.  Here she is hugging one of her grandchildren, and others picking lemons off of her famous lemon tree.
I titled this photo, Lemons and love! This is my Great Aunt Betty, who passed away a couple of months ago. I am heartbroken at that loss as well. Here she is hugging one of her grandchildren, and others picking lemons off of her famous lemon tree. | Source

This is the year my oldest son moved out of the house.

I have two wonderful sons, that I think the world of. My oldest son moved out on his own this year, and into his own little house that he is renting. It was time, and it was planned on in advance, etc. So that part was good. It seemed so far away, when the boys were kids!

Jumping forward a minute, I do recall very distinctly, the day I drove up to a U-haul in my driveway. It was small, but I knew why it was there. This was no surprise, mind you, but it still was a shock. My sister and cousin put it well when they asked, "How is your 'mommy heart' doing?" That kind of sums it up, that the question needed to be verbalized. Tough as it was, and as much as I declared that "I don't like U-haul trucks," that day, it was all pretty smooth.

As for my heart and the feelings associated with this event, it first hit as a little ache, then a little panic. This was followed by several questions that ran through my mind at a very quick speed! When I say panic, don't get me wrong, it wasn't awful. It was just surprising, because I didn't anticipate it being tough at all really, because it was "time." Perhaps if our heart feels a little threatened at being hurt, we panic a little, and do what we can to prevent pain? Just thinking out loud there.

What is so sweet, is how excited my son is, and how proud he was to show us his home. I am so proud of him. Its a tiny little place he is renting, but its hard to see him go. As for the questions that ran through my mind initially, here they are: Did I do all that I could to raise him the best that I possibly could? Did I show him all the love I could have, all along? Did I spend all the time I could with him, doing important and or fun things? Again, these came after an initial sense of silly panic, as I will call it. I know I did the best I could, and I have tried to be so careful all along the way. My son is wonderful, and we are close, and I couldn't be more proud and thankful.

Just this last week we went to a movie together, and had a great time. I treasure these times! My worry about the little things in life will always be there some. We are so blessed he is close, in the same county as us. Our kids are such a part of our hearts, and mine mean the world to me. So this concludes the recent moving out of son number one.

Roses - A Thing of Beauty

During hard times, I am convinced that focusing on the positive, like things of beauty and simple joys in nature, can help so much.
During hard times, I am convinced that focusing on the positive, like things of beauty and simple joys in nature, can help so much. | Source

My younger son, graduated and is leaving for college this year.

My second and youngest son graduated from High School this year, and will be leaving for college this coming fall. Of course its actually in August, so will feel like its here before we know it. He isn't so sure about this, by the way, which makes it harder on us! I mean, he isn't really looking forward to being away from home, especially, so that tugs at my heart some.

He is going to school approximately two hours away, but we sometimes get there in less time. So we can go and get him on the weekends if he thinks he needs it. He knows we will, and that seems to mean a lot.

With graduation and the busyness that comes with it, its been an overwhelming couple of weeks around here. That isn't over yet, and things keep on coming up. Bottom line, our time together is so limited and precious, and we are going to miss him terribly. My sons are both very different, but so wonderful and get along well. The house will be so quiet. My husband doesn't seem to mind, and seems to be embracing this part of a change in life. I can appreciate that, but its stll hard for me.

So as this sinks in, that my youngest, my baby, is leaving for college, I think it will get more difficult in some regards. What I didn't anticipate is coming up in the next section.

Time Flies By - Remembering Those that have gone on before

This is a photo of my grandmother Hettie, and two of her sisters.  Taken so long ago, and they have been gone for so long now.  They had so many tough things to deal with.  An empty nest was probably the least of their worries!
This is a photo of my grandmother Hettie, and two of her sisters. Taken so long ago, and they have been gone for so long now. They had so many tough things to deal with. An empty nest was probably the least of their worries! | Source

My Parents, are moving across country in less than a month.

My parents are the only family that lives near us here in the Midwest USA. As we speak, they are literally packing their boxes and bags and getting rid of everything for a big move that comes a month from now! This is very sudden, mind you! They have been trying to sell their home for a very long time, and they got two offers on the weekend of my youngest sons graduation, and immediately accepted the offer.

I don't blame them, because its been so long, and is hard to sell especially in the colder, winter months around here. So we are happy for them also, but I also have mixed emotions of course!

For instance, we have made many wonderful memories in the house they are selling. Wonderful holiday times with extended family and friends coming to visit. It was so special that they moved from California to the Midwest in the first place! My sister and her family moved, and then one of my brothers and his family moved here also. One by one, they moved away, while we remain. We are here because my husbands job moved us here. So that is the basic gist of it! We are losing the majority of our family, nearly immediately!

My parents current house is roomy, with amazing views into the distance in both the front and back of their home. I will miss this home more than I can explain. I know they will too, but the pull for home in California is hard to ignore also.

One more aspect is that I have younger nieces and nephews there, in California. I don't begrudge any of this, its just that my heart is at some kind of loss to some degree. So I am processing all of the thoughts and emotions.

Some Final Thoughts about our Sudden Empty Nest

I have been so blessed, and I am so thankful. I have lost some people over the last several years, and realized more and more just how precious life is. Its so precious, and every moment is one we can choose to make "count" or not. Making memories is no small thing! Spending simple time with those we love is never ever wasted.

In light of all the facts, logic and reasoning, I am left with my heart and the things it must process. Oh, and I should add, that I lost my dearest friend recently, which was totally a shock and not anticipated! The timing of all of these things couldn't have been seen in advance, but they are here none the less.

Isn't life so interesting? My thought is to take one day at a time, and enjoy every little precious memory. Like today, I went to lunch for a little while with my parents. Their lives are changing so fast, its hard to keep up. I will miss them living here terribly, and knowing I can go and see them at their beautiful home. Its a loss for my boys as well. So all the memories are all the more precious!

That is my current story, and I will likely be posting some kind of update before long. I am perfectly fine with with no more big changes for some time. Did I mention I am just about to start a second job? I am not making this stuff up! Still, I feel so grateful, as I deal with the losses and look forward to the future. I just want to do right by all in my life, as much as I am able. I love my family so much, and time is flying by.

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Comments 6 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

Paula, this was a vert melancholy read. I can relate as all of my four children have now moved out..the youngest two boys at basically the same time. Now they all have children of their own, but only one lives nearby that we see regularly. Two are in different states.

It takes some adjusting but you will adapt eventually. Taking on another job may be a good move to keep you busy. I enjoyed the read. Well written.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 3 months ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Jodah, Well it sure sounds like you know what I am talking about. I almost didn't write this due to it sounding a bit melancholy, etc. I am glad I did however. Thank you for the comment and encouragement that I will adapt eventually. I appreciate your words.


Edward J. Palumbo profile image

Edward J. Palumbo 3 months ago from Tualatin, OR

Our daughter and son left, one for university and the other for military service, and that admittedly took some adjustment to changing priorities. We remained supportive from a distance and ready if we were needed, but they've done well and we're proud of them. My children are aware I have a sense of humor, so when my daughter asked, "What will you do with my room?", I answered that we would turn it into a shrine. When my son asked what changes we'd made in his absence, I replied that we changed the locks. There's a time for everything, and we do our best to prepare them to contribute to their world. If we're successful, they'll be fine. It's difficult to see them leave and develop that independence, but it's a reward for a parenting job well done.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

No empty nest for me! In time you will find a change in you and will adapt to a new life thank you for sharing.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 3 months ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Edward, Thanks for sharing your experience and the details you did. I think the sense of humor probably really helps! Its not easy going out on your own, and kind of scary for all involved at times. It does have its positives as you mentioned, and that is exciting. Congratulations on a job well done with your family! I think the "scary" part is the unknown, and loving them so much and wanting the best, but having no guarantee. That is how so much of life is though! Like your family, we will be there for them if needed. Thank you again.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 3 months ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello DDE, Thank you. I know I will adapt to such a big change. Its what we know for so much of life, and takes some getting used to. I appreciate your comment.

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