My nest is empty.
My husband and I returned last night from dropping off our youngest son at college, and the house seems too big and too quiet. I have had some teary-eyed moments since we got back. I mean, I love my house, and I've been missing sleeping in my own bed the past week--a lot. And I've been missing "having all of my things about me"--like that fiery Irish lass from the movie "The Quiet Man," starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. (If you haven't seen that one, rent it ASAP! It's fantastic.) At heart, I'm a real homebody, and I'm happiest when I'm on my own stomping grounds. So it is good to be home; but I'm coming to grips with the fact that home isn't quite what it used to be.
My kids have been moving out and moving on rather gradually over the past nine years, so I've had time to adjust to their absences. But for the past five years, my second oldest son and my youngest have been living with us full-time at home. And now--boom!--they're both gone. First, son #2 moved into his own apartment an hour away from here almost a month ago; and now, my baby is living at a college far, far away out in the Midwest. Adjusting to the two of them being gone is probably going to take awhile.
But as much as I miss my boys, I'm happy for them. They're all in a good place right now-- except of course my oldest, who is still on deployment, but he will be coming back soon. And now he has a wife and twin baby daughters, so a wonderful home awaits him. Son #2 has begun a new job as a high school teacher and coach; the academic year hasn't even officially begun yet, and he has already started to make his mark at the school. Sons #3 and #4, always best buddies as little guys, are living and working together down in VA. And I know my baby is going to be alright, too. My husband and I checked out his Facebook page last night and saw that he has already added a long list of new college friends.
My husband and I are now going to be on a continuous date. (That's how a guy he knows at work put it, and I've decided that's a good way to describe being empty-nesters.) So even though I'm feeling just a little sad at the moment, I still believe the sentiment on this sign that hangs over the sliding glass doors in our family room:
It is. It really is.