The Empty Nest Begins

The car is loaded, your child is behind the wheel, they wave and off they go with a bright smile on their face! The empty nest begins. Along with it comes a world of emotions. There is no quick fix, no one sure answer to what to do or how to cope. There is only a beginning and somewhere we all pray for an end to the emotional upheaval that comes with it.

Our Story Begins

Well, our story begins somewhat like the above scenario, except that we loaded his car, his truck, a trailer and a borrowed SUV. We drove the 30 miles to the nearest college town where he has recently rented a house with his buddy. It is a nice older home, a bit quirky and in need of some basic repairs, but it is an okay starting point. We helped to unload and set up furniture, clean the bathroom and kitchen and I even bought a week's groceries for a family of four. It is not quite finished, but it is respectable. He then drove us home, Gramma, Grampa, Stepdad and I. THEN...he got behind the wheel and drove away to trade the borrowed SUV for his motorcycle. He will be driving to his home tonight. He will be on his own. I will be officially an empty-nester tonight.


A Time For Everything

Don't get me wrong...I am glad my son has a job, is going to college, and is responsible enough to move out and take care of himself. He is 20 years old. It is time for him to spread his wings and begin to fly! He is close enough to home to call or come by whenever he wants and it won't be an expense. He is far enough from home to be on his own without crossing our paths unless it is intentional. He can try out being on his own without a culture shock on top of the other changes such as paying bills, cooking and cleaning for himself, AND being responsible for homework, job and vehicles. It will be a new experience for him. A good experience that will help him grow into a well-rounded and responsible adult. It is time. It is good. I am glad he is taking on this responsibility without being forced. We had no fight. We planned it together.

Several weeks back he talked to me about making the move. We talked about what it would involve. We discussed many aspects of what would be involved. We talked about the finances. How much could he afford? What about utilities? Deposits? Gas and Groceries? We discussed what type of place he wanted to live in. He wanted a house with a small yard and a shed for his motorcycle. He would need to share expenses with at least one person. He asked me to go with him to check out places. We talked to several people, checked newspaper ads, Craigs List ads, and even talked to a local realtor about area rentals. We connected with one person with a house available within his budget and went to see the house. Perfect! It was in a quiet neighborhood, convenient to the college and near the law enforcement center. That little bit of added security was a hit with Mom!

We called the local utility companies and got estimates for monthly costs. It was all a possibilty. He would have to open an account for direct payments and there would be no utility deposits. He talked to a buddy who seemed to be the most reliable to pay his half of the bills and made an appointment to sign the lease. They were moving. I was proud and wondering how I would make it without my buddy!

He is driving a borrowed SUV pulling a trailer, with Stepdad driving his truck and lagging behind it all is Mom driving his car loaded with bedding.
He is driving a borrowed SUV pulling a trailer, with Stepdad driving his truck and lagging behind it all is Mom driving his car loaded with bedding. | Source

Moving Day

Moving day arrived! 107 degrees outside, a grip on my heart inside. We loaded everything he handed us into a box, tub or basket and filled up his pickup truck, his car, an SUV and a flatbed trailer. I was amazed at just how many things he had! We loaded it all up, scooped up his grandparents and headed down the road. I drove his 5 speed car, filled with bedding, and cried as I watched my "little boy" driving toward his launch into adulthood. He is the last of three children. His sister married over 6 years ago and moved out. His older brother gave me 2 weeks to miss her and promptly moved all of her things out of her room and moved into it. A few years later, the aforementioned brother, swore to protect our nation from enemies both domestic and abroad, stepped onto a plane and has only been home a few times since. He is overseas right now and communication is sporadic. This child has had Mom to himself for 4 full years! He is a confident, independent young man who is moving ahead in this world! We got him settled into his house, for the most part. I made sure he had his bed fixed, the living room fixed and the bathroom cleaned. Gramma cleaned the kitchen, unpacked and washed the dishes and got everything settled in, including the groceries. Grampa did the weed trimming and Stepdad helped unload everything. It looks good. It only took a couple of hours.

His room is empty... the empty nest begins.
His room is empty... the empty nest begins. | Source

And Now....

I went into his room. It is empty except for one box. Some odd pieces and books that he "wasn't sure he needed to deal with right now." The closet still has his suitcases and his coats. His Police Explorers uniform hangs here, pressed and ready for Thursday night. He will be back to get it. I LOVE that uniform! It will ensure that he will be here at least once in the next few days. Just in case you didn't notice.....I'm slightly pathetic tonight! Totally pathetic, actually! I switched from Kleenex tissues to Bounty paper towels. When each of his siblings left, I sat in their rooms, said my good-byes, and straightened them up. It hit me that it would actually stay clean for a change. His room, however, is as clean as it can possibly be. It is practically empty. I will say good-bye tomorrow. Tonight I will sit and miss all three of them again. My babies are grown, now it is my turn....I too, must grow up and be prepared to spread my wings. I want to soar with them! Where this empty nest will take me....I do not know. I have no plans. I will find some way to grow and something to fill the nest for when I need to snuggle in....probably my grand babies! Yes...they will do nicely! We have many years to go with them. The youngest is only 6 months old. On to the next stage of life.

Photo and Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey

Take A Moment and Take Our Poll

What is the hardest part of the empty nest for you?

  • The empty room.
  • Loss of contact.
  • The quiet.
  • Nothing to do.
  • Nothing at all...LOVING it!
See results without voting

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Share Your Tips On How To Cope 17 comments

sunbeams profile image

sunbeams 5 years ago from Cairns , Australia

Aww I can imagine how you must feel.I am scared that I will have to go through this too, sometime...


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Prekjtr, I know exactly how you feel. My oldest is out and married,and he too is serving our nation, and my youngest is getting ready for college. I know we are so proud of them, but we think about those times when they were babies, then toddlers who were into everything, then children learning to ride their bicycles, then the awkward preteen years and junior high, and let's not forget when they were so excited about getting their driver's license, then high school prom and graduation. Such wonderful memories, and such wonderful kids who have turned into wonderful adults. Hang in there. :-)


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Prektjr, I know how you feel. We are so proud of them, but we can't help but fall back on all our memories.

I wrote a hub on tips for the empty nester. Hang in there!! :-)


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

sunbeams,

I dreaded it too for quite some time, but today it is better. Bless his heart it is different for him too! We made plans for a weekly lunch "date" and we have Sunday dinners at Gramma's after church, so will be seeing him on a regular basis. That will help "transition" Mom! Enjoy your children each and every day! It is good that I am sad...it means our relationship is good. What a blessing! I hope you are as blessed!


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

sholland,

You are so right! The precious memories and good times are all stored up for days like this! I am so proud of my children and I still enjoy them as adults! It is wonderful to have the treasure of our relationship! I will look for your empty nest hub! It does help to know we are not alone in these feelings! Today is better and tomorrow will be even more so! I must admit I am looking forward to having the house stay neat for a change! Thanks for the encouragement!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Sorry I had two comments. I tried the first and got a window stating it wouldn't go through. I am persistent so I tried again. Oh well, ya got double-whammied. See, I was trying to keep you busy. LOL

Yes, we empty nesters need to stick together. :-)


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

I dreaded it before it happened but now I have adjusted to the extra space, time and quiet. I believe it's because I talk to my girls all of the time. A good relationship as they grow does help you to adjust after they have moved out of your home. They miss you as much as you miss them.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

It's hard to let them go. However you'll find they miss you as much as you miss them. Well written, interesting article. Up and interesting.


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

sholland,

Too funny! I have had several duplicates and so try to pick the one that covers the most! It has happened to me too!! I love the busy-ness! Thanks for the comments!


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

KKG,

Just like sholland, i see you have bitten with the double-up bug! I do appreciate your persistence to get such an important post through. It really is about developing a life-long relationship...from day one! Thanks!


wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Awww, what a heart-felt, lovely hub. I still have three young ones home and can predict how hard it will be to let them go. The quiet in the house will be deafening, I imagine. Congrats on entering the next phase of life.


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

wordscribe43,

One thing I have learned through all of this is that, while I was an often strict parent, my children were 100% aware of my love and support for EVERYTHING they did! Love your children well and it will pay! By the time yours move out, maybe I will have some suggestions for you! Thanks for the lovely comment and sweet support! God bless!


pbsandwichofdoom profile image

pbsandwichofdoom 5 years ago

It's a little funny how 100% of the answers on the poll say that the quiet is the hardest part. Good luck to you and your son, though. I know that I thought a not-too-close, not-too-far location was perfect for college. I actually felt closer to my dad after getting a healthy amount of independence, but still being able to come home when I wanted.


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

PB,

I thought it was odd too that the quiet is hardest, but it is almost overwhelming at times! I started leaving the T.V. on, but promised myself that I would quit using it for a pacifier after the 1st week! That's what I am hoping for! Thanks for the reassurance!


Ari Lamstein profile image

Ari Lamstein 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

test comment.


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

'tis a sad time, but a good one, we can't keep them in nappies forever, my 3 couldn't get out of the door and across the seas fast enough, sadly for me, they are still there


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 4 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA Author

My three were all so very eager to grow up! I am thoroughly enjoying them as adults, though I miss our times together as a group...doesn't seem to happen often enough!

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