“It’s empty nesting lite,” I tell people, half apologetically, and with only thinly disguised delight. I try to keep my smile this side of an all out grin. But, it’s true. When you have a child who attends a university just 15 minutes from home, it is empty nesting lite.
The night before my youngest moved into her dorm, I admit, I was beside myself. The impending reality of both girls’ being away at school settled over me like a cold, heavy fog. I fought tears all evening as we packed her bags, and stuffed the car (for the 15 minute drive!). I had no idea what to expect, other than deafening silence at home.
I made a few ground rules for myself:
- Wait for her to ask to get together- don’t initiate plans. And if she doesn’t ask, remember there’s always fall break, parents’ weekend, and winter holidays.
- Do not text her after you listen to the local crime report on the morning or evening news, just to be sure she is ok.
- Do not go anywhere near her dorm (which is 5 minutes from the school where I teach) unless she has given you a reason to do so.
- Pretend she is far, far away.
I wasn’t sure if my heart would break into a thousand pieces, but I was determined to give her space.
She settled in to dorm living, began rigorous classes, found new friends, and discovered parts of her hometown she never knew.
And… much to my delight, before long, she texted and asked if she could come home for dinner. And not long after that, she asked me to have coffee with her one afternoon. We met for last, late summer pedicures one Saturday. And yesterday she came home to do her laundry and get some cold weather clothes.
We took a long walk on our country road, and talked about everything from dirty dorm bathrooms, to long reading assignments. And after her laundry was dry and folded and back in her bags, we packed everything in the car and went out for burgers before she went back to school.
Empty nesting lite. I like it. Not apologizing.
Join us and share your Slice at Two Writing Teachers.