An Emptier Nest

* I've been out of state for a few days and just returned last night.  In fact, I might still be sleeping as you read this.  I pre-scheduled this post to publish today.  It's a "guest post" I wrote for another website recently.  An online magazine contacted me after seeing this post and asked if I could write an "empty nest" post for their use.  I did.  It published last week, and today it's here for you. *

The other day I found myself alone in my house.

Alone.

I don't think I've been alone in over twenty one years.

There was quiet.  There was silence.  There was nothing but the soft sound of wind chimes singing outdoors.

I felt a moment of glee.  

"Finally!"

I felt a moment of despair.

"They're gone!"

In fact, I also felt a little puzzled.

"What do I do now?"

I suppose I'm an "emptier nester" now that two of my three children have left for college.  The nest isn't completely empty yet, but considering the busy schedule of my youngest teen – it almost is.

I thought back to the many busy, hectic, days when I had dreamed of just one moment to myself.  I remembered back to the "baby years" when an opportunity to take a shower, or use the bathroom with the door closed, was a triumph in my day.  There were years, and years, of kid activities filling my every waking moment.

I also reminisced about a house filled with laughter and noise.  Chubby fingers clinged to me and baby giggles filled the house.  Siblings argued, neighbor children seemed to be ringing the doorbell incessantly, and pancakes were made into shapes like dinosaurs.

"What is it I wanted to do?  What is it I never had time for?" I questioned.

My cell phone rang then.  It was a friend I hadn't seen in over a year.  She wanted to set up a time together.  "I have time!" I thought, excitedly.  We scheduled a date for the following week.  I smiled to myself, realizing I am at the verge of something new.  There will be time for my friends, there will be time for my interests and my activities.

I sat down and began The List.  

The List went on and on and, in fact – I will probably add on to The List endlessly in the future.

Written on The List are books I've been meaning to read.  

Written on The List are places I've been meaning to visit, or re-visit, for a long time.  Friends I've had little, or no, time for are itemized one by one.  There are exclamation points by some of their names … I am THAT excited to reconnect with them.

There are neglected hobbies recorded too.  There's also an inventory of topics I'm interested in, but have had no time to delve into learning more about.  

"I'll have time for my BRAIN!" I thought, smiling, as I looked at some of the more intellectual pursuits on The List.

"I'll have time for my BODY!" I realized as I re-read some of the more athletic items on The List.

"I'll have time to be CREATIVE again!" I mused as I eyed my neglected moleskin journals and camera gear.

A flood of ideas began rushing to my mind.

"Concerts!  Classes!  Photography!  Travel!  I can, I can, I can …."

The other day I found myself.

Alone in my house ….

© Twenty Four At Heart 

9 Responses to “An Emptier Nest”

  1. Deidre

    Enjoy it! My mom has taken to travel. She’s in Rome as we speak!
    Also I got the Calendar in the mail on Friday. I love it! I am so excited to hang it up!

  2. Jan

    Since our lone remaining chicks are about the same age, I’m right there with you. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how menopausal I am at the moment) The Spouse And His Company will do an admirable job of filling my time.
    Where the hell did all of my “me time” go??

  3. Erica

    Sometimes it feels like I’m on hold, just waiting for one of the kids to show up. When I notice I shake off the feeling though. It’s tough.

  4. Linda Tustin

    nice piece of writing Suzanne. You are not just a photographer.

  5. Sandi

    I am emptying my nest one kid at a time. It will move a bit slower than your nest since I have twelve to go, but nonetheless, watching them pack up and leave has been the hardest part of parenting. I have lost three to the big world and I hate it and love it at the same time.
    Excuse me while I go cry for a bit.

  6. missy

    Remember – they always return! Really beautiful and heartfelt piece. It seems like eons ago. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  7. vodkamom

    I THOUGHT I was alone. Then I turned around and discovered I HAD A BOY.
    holy crap.

  8. Jill

    3 days a week I have an empty house when my kids are at school. Totally not the same I know, but mind boggling nonetheless.
    It must be so bittersweet to have them gone …

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