I moved my daughter out today. It wasn’t easy. For the past 20 plus years she’s been a part of my daily life. But she’s an adult now and moving out takes her another step into adulthood. I still have my son at home, but at 16 he’d rather not have much to do with mom. I exist to feed him. One of these days, that won’t be enough and he, too, will move out.
Fast-forward four years. We just moved my son into his own apartment. He still doesn’t want much to do with mom. He even told his sister that the best part of moving out was not having to tell me where he was going or what he was doing. I admit, that hurt. But moving out is the next step in his quest to achieve adulthood, and I’m proud of him for doing so.
I just had no idea how hard it would be to let the last one go... The house has a different emptiness to it now. His room, once full of soccer shoes, game systems and the smell of Axe, has now become like a storage room. My daughter's former room will become our spare room. I can't help feeling melancholy when I enter those rooms. My nest is empty.
While Hubby and I have different perspectives on our empty nest, there is one thing we agreed on throughout the process: Packing is a great way to clean and reorganize.
As you pack, you throw away things you really don’t need. It’s easy to toss other things into a box and worry about sorting it later. Then, when you unpack and are trying to put your life back in some semblance of order, you get to reorganize. In the process, you find some parts of you that may have been lost for a while.
My writing has been a part of my daily life since I was a teenager. I’m always writing something - if not my novel, then an article, or a letter, or at the very least, a list. I’ve packed my writing up and dragged it along with me, kicking and screaming, through several house moves and also through rearranging. But it’s always been there.
As the kids have grown, their demands on my time have become less. It may be a subtle shift in priorities but it feels huge. I’ve had more time for writing than I used to, and I didn’t feel guilty about taking the time when I needed it.
Now that it’s just the two of us, it’s time for us to move on to the next phase of our lives as well. That includes doing more things we enjoy doing together, like hiking and traveling.
My nest may be empty, but I plan to fill it again. All those books I packed up twenty-some years ago to make room for kids? They can now be unpacked and arranged into an real office, complete with filing cabinets, a desk, and my computer! I'm looking forward to that resulting in more writing time!
Have your kids moved out and left you with an empty nest? How have you adjusted? Please share.
*This post was adapted from an article originally printed in the July/August/September 2012 issue of Romancing the Prairie, newsletter for Prairie Hearts RWA chapter.