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 I 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.