My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

Hello there, and welcome. I don’t know about you, but this is certainly the last place I expected to find myself on a late summer afternoon. We can both blame a former editor of mine. She suggested that I turn my empty-nest experiences into a blog after reading a few posts I’d written on Facebook about my son going away to college.

My initial thought was, “Are you kidding? A mommy blog?” Aren’t those for…well, mommies? I’m a 56-year-old woman who has somehow managed to raise two children without reading a single “how to” book other than “Parenting for Dummies” and a few chapters in “Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.” I’ve been “winging it” for 19 years. What business do I have writing a blog about my empty-nest emotions? What could I (or anybody else, for that matter) possibly hope to gain?

As it turns out, everything.

Ever since Aug. 17, when my 19-year-old son moved out of his childhood bedroom and into a dorm at the University of Utah to study chemistry, I’ve felt unexplainably lost, with crushing moments of deep sadness and panic. I have friends whose children have died, so I also feel selfish about these emotions when my own child is just three miles up the road, kicking back in a cushy honors dorm that has a walk-in shower large enough for 10 people (hopefully he won’t test that), a modern kitchen, a soundproof music room, maid service (!!!), a coffee shop and an outdoor fire pit.

Never mind that my 16-year-old daughter is now outnumbered at the dinner table in debates about clothing allowances and curfews. She says that I need to shrug it off and get back in the game. “This is nothing — wait until move out,” she says. Still, I miss her brother’s presence. The familiar routines in our household have taken such a hit, you’d think that we’d sent our boy to Tanzania, instead of the next zip code.

I quickly found that only one thing actually helped me to feel better about this new phase in my life: writing about it. Initially, I put out a couple of posts on social media (which I intend to rework a bit and include here), but now, here I am.

For the record, my son and daughter are OK with this blog as long as I don’t share their personal photos and use their names for now. They tell me that they have no intention of reading it and I believe them, since they’ve ignored what I’ve written on Facebook like non-believers stuck in a four-hour Bible class.

So away we go. I have no idea where the switchbacks on this road will lead and I’ll undoubtedly land in the ditch more than once. Here’s hoping that it’s an entertaining ride.

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10 thoughts on “My Almost-Empty Nest Journey Begins

  1. Dennis Andrus says:

    I’m glad that Nicki twisted your arm to join Facebook! It is a delight to see your posts, and your bright personality come through each day!

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Thank you, Dennis! I’m glad that she twisted it, too. ☺️

  2. Nicki Egan says:

    This is every bit as beautiful and powerful as I knew it would be. So glad it’s helping you cope, too.

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Ahhh, thank you, Nicki! You’re the best. You always have the most wonderful ideas. I’m so glad that you persuaded me to do this! xo

      1. Nicki Egan says:

        so glad you did it too. I could hear the pain behind your witty posts and I figured it’d be relatable for people-even ones like me with no kids! and it is:-)

  3. Cathy Free says:

    Yes! I agree. Thanks, Nicki. I was very surprised at the pain that hit me. I was not expecting it to be so difficult. So if my ramblings can help somebody else out there, why not? At the very least, writing about it is helping me to accept the new reality. Time stops for no one! : )

  4. Oh, this is so familiar! I look forward to reading more.
    Thanks for following my blog.

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Thank you! I really enjoy what I’ve seen in your blog! 😊

  5. Loretta says:

    Writing is a great way to deal with so many emotions, Cathy! love you new blog, and I am looking forward to catching up on it.

    My son’s are now 31 and 33, and to my surprise they both read my blog…and I have shared some deeply revealing things!

    Here’s to the journey, girl!

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Thanks, Loretta! I look forward to following your blog as well! That’s great that your sons read your posts. Perhaps my kids will someday, too. Then they can decide whether to disown me. Ha! 🙂

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