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!
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.
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
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