This Is How I'm Dealing With An Empty Nest

The morning after my wife and I moved our daughter into her college dorm room, I stepped out to the stoop with a hot mug of coffee and watched the neighbor dog across the street throw up.

That was last Saturday, our first full day of being empty nest parents. And that dog's queasy stomach might as well have been my own. In fact, watching her heave made my gut curdle ... AGAIN.

Desperate hugs were shared when we left our daughter to find her own way in a new and unfamiliar place.

Tears were shed.

And now that she has left home to join her older brother at West Virginia University in Morgantown, I'm left to confront an uneasy truth: I can't use the kids anymore as an excuse to put off household chores.

Actually, I haven't really been able to do that for quite some time. Ever since our son and then our daughter got their driver's licenses, they've been getting more and more independent. In fact, our daughter was barely home her senior year in high school. And now, she's not home at all.

There was a time when I could confidently use our kids to shield myself from the critical eye of my wife. After all, who has time to encourage a lawn that at least compares favorably to the next worst yard in the neighborhood when hungry kids are clamoring for dinner? Or when they need a ride to dance class? Or soccer practice? Or band and theater rehearsals?

I clearly didn't.

But our daughter is now a college freshman. She's out of the nest and facing a new reality. And I am, too.

My new lot in life was brought home to me after I posted a maudlin tweet about move-in day last week. One of my Twitter friends suggested I take my mind off the empty nest by fixing that hole in my basement ceiling.

My Twitter friend Robert appears to be this blog's only regular reader, which could be why he knows about the hole in my ceiling. You can read about that DIY misadventure here.

And OF COURSE, Robert is right. I've got plenty of things to do besides worry about our daughter and feeling sorry for myself. Fixing the basement ceiling is just one. I've also got to clean out our garage. The fixit guy is coming over next week to install new doors.

Unlike the unsightly hole in the basement ceiling, the garage doors were NOT MY FAULT. Our daughter mangled one of them the week before she left for school. I like to think of that mishap as her parting shot going away present. You can read about that here.

If the ceiling and the garage were not enough to occupy my time, I've got a trampoline in the backyard that needs to be taken down. With our little girl breaking away, there's no one left here at my house remotely interested in jumping on it.

There's also painting to be done, a back deck that could use some attention, laundry to do, dishes to be put away, a dog to be walked, and two cats to be fed, not to mention a yard to rehabilitate.

So yeah, I've got things to do.

But it would be nice to have our kids back home, so I could go back to ignoring them.

Editor's note: Please share this post! Robert is a great guy, but it would be nice to have more than one regular reader. And don't forget to hit the subscribe button at the top of the page!


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