Beginning of a new era--Empty Nest!


Today is THE day...the one we have worked for every single day for nearly 24 years! The last of the kids headed off to college today, leaving the hubby and me waving from the front porch! It is the sunset on an era--of constant parenting, caring for kids, cooking for kids, attending ballgames and baking brownies for concession stands.
And today is the sunrise of a new era--of Duane and I rediscovering each other and getting to know the new, older, more mature relationship.  The kids laughingly asked if Dad and I were going to be okay on our own....well, duh! I picked him to marry. I'm pretty sure I can live with him for at least 50 more years...
Our kids are all K-Staters. That makes them the 4th generation to graduate from Kansas State University. Duane's grandfather is a KSU grad, my mom graduated from KSU and Duane and I both graduated from KSU in the 1980s.  And our oldest daughter graduated from KSU a year and a half ago. We are proud to have our kids choose K-State, at least for their undergraduate work.  But this semester, we will have four kids in college at once. (Thank goodness for scholarships!)
Today is a little bittersweet for me. As Duane washed the kids cars and cleaned the windows on all the cars for them (his way of showing he loves them) I thought back to August when I had expected to be an "empty-nester."  The first week of classes, three of our kids were starting school, while Tyler was lying in a hospital bed. He was supposed to be settling into fraternity life with his brothers and figuring out how to buy books online and getting lost on campus, but instead he was waiting on a liver transplant.  I suppose looking back to how sick he was just a few months ago, and today watching him load his car with everything he needs to move into the fraternity made me a little more melancholy than I would have been.  It is such an accomplishment for him to be totally healthy just five short months after nearly losing him!  But today as the kids drove away (3 cars following each other to Manhattan, Kansas--just 45 miles from home), my husband turned to me and said, "This is what we've worked for so hard! WE DID IT!"

So some of the changes I face...no more buying milk 6 gallons at a time; no more having 18 pairs of shoes piled at the front door; no more doing 3 loads of dishes every day; no more having the living room trashed just five minutes after cleaning it up; and no more cooking supper in huge stockpots! No more worrying about when the kids will be home, or what they are working on at the farm. No more dirty, stinky socks left in the living room; no more half full glasses left by the couch.  No more strange smells coming from the kids bedrooms; no more fighting for my turn to use the washing machine.  No more noise and no more dirt.  Whew. We did it.  So why am I crying?...

14 comments:

  1. Bless your heart! I know how you feel as we have been empty nesters for 5 years now. It does get easier, and becomes quite enjoyable. Once you get through the tears, you can start enjoying!
    -Lori

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    1. Thank you Lori. I really don't know why I'm crying...but I can't seem to stop!! Maybe a glass of wine will help.

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  2. You've been on an emotional roller coaster for the last 6 months. I don't know how you have held up this long. You are allowed to cry. You need to. Dian

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    1. Oh Dian! Thank you so much! I woke up this morning much better and a little cry was a good thing. I know that all my kids will be fine--even Tyler! It is just so strange having this day finally come--I always knew it would. But here it is! Surprise!!

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  3. Welcome to the empty nester world!
    Our little birdies flew the coop nearly five years ago. It was weird and it was hard...but, it was/is kind of amazing, too. It's actually great once you adjust. :) (and you will)
    Best to you...and your husband! YOU DID IT!
    P.S. You've been through so much in the past little while, it would be really surprising if you didn't cry.

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    1. So a couple of them forgot something and only made it a few miles away before they came right back. They said they expected me to be crying on the couch (don't tell them, that is exactly where I was) but I met them at the door and LOCKED THE DOOR! I stood there smiling at them and laughing! Told them they couldn't come back in.....then, of course, I relented. They actually forgot their laundry in the dryer!!! Five minutes later I was alone again...sipping wine and sniffling. It will be fine, I know. :)

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  4. Oh, Debbie Kay! I love ya! What a foundation you and D. gave them. I'm not a bit biased, but they are unbelievably wonderful kids..... Tan is leaving tomorrow. Pass the wine!

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    1. We are very blessed to have our kids so close! I know there are many parents who have so much more to worry about--kids in far away locations, or in dangerous situations such as the military. I'm sniffling not because I will miss my kids, but because things have changed. I'm crying, not because I'm sad, but because I am unbelievably happy! I will miss them desperately, but I will also see them often and enjoy being a part of their adult lives. I just can't believe we are here already!

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  5. Your name and Tyler's (as well as his donor family) have been on my prayer list for quite some time now. As I looked at that list again this morning, I figured that you were having to let Tyler go and trust that he'll continue to care for himself without you looking over his shoulder. It's true for all of us, I suppose, but I would imagine even more so for a child who was so ill.

    I will join the chorus of people saying that you will adjust to this new phase of life and come to enjoy it. But I will also say that it took me awhile to get there, just because we spend so many years focused on "hands-on" care for our children.

    Hugs and prayers, Debbie!

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I am coping well, although things haven't really slowed down much. We are all very grateful for healthy, happy kids who are geographically close to home, but who don't necessarily come home much!!

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  6. 6 gallons of milk!!! I have seen my future.

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    1. Remember, Karen...that was just 6 gallons at a time...we actually drank many more than that in a week! Now Hubby and I are lucky to get 2 gallons drank in a week.

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  7. Enjoy! Take advantage of this time in between hands-on daily kids because the arrival of this phase means weddings and grandkids are right around the corner. My "next generation" is now up to eight, and believe me, it gets hectic again.

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    1. PJ, I am enjoying this...it takes getting used to, but I am starting to like it!

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