An Open Letter to Everyone Who Says Being an Empty Nester is Glorious
So many people have shared. So many people, all of them with the best of intentions, have helpfully opined that the empty-nest phase of life is glorious and that being a member of this exclusive club is a joy to behold.
Thank you, but I'm not so sure that we're really ready to be card-carrying members of your empty-nest club.
A Little Backstory
We're a blended family with a total of six kids of the 'hers' and 'ours' variety. Two of the older kids now have their own children to raise and care for, some of the most beautiful little humans on the planet.
So one by one, over the last two decades or so, they've been leaving us. Leaving us to go out and do their own things - truly great things.
But my wife has been raising kids for over 40 consecutive years and as a stepparent or parent, I've been doing so for nearly 30. So I hope you'll understand when I say that for now, we're just tiptoeing into waters of empty nesting.
And Then There Were Two
My son Dave and his girlfriend came to the conclusion about a year ago that moving out west was in their best interest. As difficult as it is to have them be 2,000 miles away, we supported that decision. They work their butts off and we have enjoyed watching them build a life for themselves in a new city.
That left us with one at home. Nick isn't the baby, he's technically 36 minutes older than Dave. But he was the last man standing, the last of our big collection of 'baby birds' still in the nest, and represented our last opportunity to cling to the notion that we still had kids at home to raise.
Medical School Calls
We knew this day would come. We've had plenty of warning. And thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, our son Nick's education career got stalled and he has been treading water for the last year and a half.
We helped him move into his own place about 300 miles away last weekend. His quest to become a doctor begins tomorrow. Medical school is probably going to be one of the toughest things Nick ever tackles but it's also likely to be a turning point in his life, the point at which his real life as an adult begins. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I Have to Admit That You're Probably Right
So I guess membership in your little empty-nest club isn't optional, huh? I guess Denise and I understand that admission means that we've done our jobs and fulfilled our obligations, albeit with plenty of fumbles along the way.
Just don't expect us to be all that excited about this transition. Not at first, anyway.