Opinion: Tears for empty nest fears


Friends, it has begun. My husband Doo and I are approaching the last few miles in the Empty Nest Marathon. And I’m surprised to find that when I stop to rest and hydrate, I’m a tad bit weepy. Me! The cold and dead inside, “Don’t let the door hit you in the buttocks” kind of mother. Let’s explore.

Our youngest of four is a senior in high school. Her older siblings are off living their best lives in various locations – Bloomington, Colorado, France – and she is plotting to join them in their campaign against staying close to home. Fine. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all, and I’m a fairly decent FaceTimer. So, what’s the difference with this last kiddo?

I suppose that’s exactly it. She’s the last. Everything she does is the last. I didn’t cry at my older daughter’s last marching band competition, but I found myself sentimental this week at her sister’s last dance team performance. I shed not one tear at any of the other’s absences from my Halloween Yard Spectacular, but I’m already lamenting that this will be the last time with one of my children helping to scare/impress the neighborhood toddlers. Lord knows how I will be for her actual graduation! Previous ones have been joyful celebrations, filled with the anticipation of smaller grocery bills and a less crowded driveway. But her graduation will be the last. Her departure will be the last. And then it’ll be just Doo and I, crossing the finish line to Empty Nest, pretending my tears are sweat to save my stoic reputation. Ugh.

Wish me luck in these final miles.

Peace out.