Empty nest is really a misnomer for many households. It’s more like random roost or sporadic shelter syndrome. Just when you get used to your kids living away, whether it’s for a job, military or to further their education, sometimes they come home, sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes with friends.
The first year of the not-so-empty nest goes by fast. Where did the time go, you wonder? What I thought would be a year full of self-discovery and enjoying quality time with my spouse and friends, turned into a year of advising our sons from afar in regards to car troubles, health issues, and other general life questions that the newly independent might ask. Surprise visits home and Christmas break were followed by a major winter storm that snowed our sons home. Then before we knew it, the boys returned home for summer break.
Goodbye peace and quiet, clean house, and meals for two. Hello chaos, unpredictable schedules, and lively conversations. And although our kids are technically living at home, they prefer to spend their free time with friends. It doesn’t take long for our sons to realize the community that provided them numerous activities as boys no longer holds their interest.
Home becomes a stop along life’s journey. A special place full of memories where our young adult kids can visit that all too familiar zone where they straddle between the world of childhood and all grown up. They occasionally seek our input, love their independence and freedom to come and go, enjoy home-cooked meals, catch up on sleep, and then before long, they pack up their clothes and make their way back to their new life.
Every time I tell a friend that my husband and I are enjoying the empty nest life, they just smile, shake their head, and say “They come back” or “It’s only temporary.” So whether you are dreading this phase in life or loving it, just remember empty nest may be a short-lived phenomenon where these strange visitors that resemble your sons or daughters may pop in for a quick stay or perhaps become a temporary fixture!