On March 29th Brian moved into his own apartment. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, after all, he was away at college for four years. I know what it’s like for him to be gone for a long time. But this is different. I thought when I took him to Rensselear back in August 2007 that that was the empty nest. It wasn’t. The empty nest happened when he packed ALL his stuff, rented a truck and moved 20 minutes south.

Yes, he’s really grown up now…job as an Engineer, adult apartment, a benefit plan. I couldn’t be prouder.

So when we finished moving him and he drove away I felt fine. I wondered why everyone kept asking me if I was okay. I’m fine. And then it hit me. I stood in his empty room and couldn’t move for about 20 minutes. I just stood and listened to the silence. I cried. And then I had to do something. I started tearing down the wallpaper in his room (something I wanted to do since I bought the house 9 years ago but couldn’t because the room was full of stuff). I started with one little piece and before I knew it the whole room was stripped bare. It’s gonna be okay.

When I look down the hall now he’s not sitting at his computer, no music coming from his room, just space…So I’ll turn his room into a small studio for myself, his closet into my prop room. I’m looking forward to having a little more work space.

Brian stopped by last Sunday to do a a couple things for me, then we sat on my deck and had dinner. So this is my new normal, he comes to visit now and then and we have a nice meal together and then he goes home. He’s so happy that my sadness was short-lived. I’m sure all parents go through the same thing but as a single parent since his birth 23 years ago I feel especially proud, of him…and myself.

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9 Responses to Empty Nest

  1. Clare says:

    …a beautiful job articulating the feelings of watching a child move into adult life. I’m getting closer to that point and can only hope that I will handle it as well as you have.

  2. Jane Bronfman says:

    Julie, this is beautiful. And I so relate. Ben hasn’t lived at home since he graduated college 4 years ago and we moved our washing machine/dryer to his room when we redid the kitchen, which adjoined the laundry room. Still looks like his room, though, except for the heavy machinery. I commend you for transforming his room so quickly – maybe I’m in denial after all this time by leaving Ben’s room as is. Celebrate the fact that Brian is on his own and happy – you did good, mama!

  3. Thank you Clare. Thank you Jane, time to claim that space!

  4. Pam says:

    I’m still a way off from this, Julie… But I know it will surprise me w/ the swiftness that it does arrive. Your photos & text brought a lump to my throat. But mostly I admire the way you tackled the event head on. Sentimentality mixed w/ action! You’ve done good; your son comes home to help a out and share dinner w/ you. Very sweet.

  5. Thanks Pam…it does go by very quickly!

  6. Theresa says:

    Your post warmly conveyed the mixed feelings of being proud and being sad. Wonderful pictures too.

  7. In Anna Quindlen’s new book she talks about the empty nest starting not when they go to college but when they graduate…I see what she means.

  8. Grown and Flown… I’ll have to check that book out, thank you for the comment.

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