My Scrambled Nest

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

I filled the empty shelves of my son’s old bookcase with Lego creations the other day — not his architectural wonders, but mine. For about eight months now, missing the days when I’d spend hours helping him and his sister put together pirate ships, Star Wars destroyers, Spongebob’s Krusty Krab cafe and Harry Potter’s Hogwart’s …

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  Now that my oldest child is out on his own in a college dorm, I’ve found myself flashing back often to various stages of his life and mine, beginning with one day in particular: The day that I announced to my extended family that I was pregnant. As a busy journalist who traveled a …

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Since my son left for college a month ago, one of the biggest challenges has been adjusting to having three people at home instead of four — something that I haven’t experienced in almost 17 years. Four was such a good even number, and now we’re cooking for three or making reservations for three, and …

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Probably the thing I’ve missed most since my son left for college, aside from his contagious laugh and his sunny demeanor, is the sound of his music: the CDs he regularly cranked to full volume (Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Modest Mouse), and the deep thrum of his double bass as he worked his …

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Today, on September 11th, I plan to light a candle as I always do in honor of those who died on that dark day. But this year, I’m also thinking about a memory that brought me hope in the days immediately after the terrorist attacks. It happened on 9/13, when I picked up my son, …

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Both of my kids have always loved peaches. We used to make one or two runs to Utah’s “Famous Fruit Way” every summer to load up on Elbertas, Sunhavens, Rosas and Crimson Ladies. Driving home with enough peaches to supply a Smuckers jam factory, my son and daughter went to town, eating as many peaches …

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When I arrived home from a magazine interview the other night to a dark and silent house, I couldn’t help wonder: “Is this what it will feel like when my daughter follows her brother to college in two years?” With my husband at a city meeting and my daughter away at a friend’s house doing …

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A couple of nights ago, I picked up my college freshman at his dorm to take him for the 13th (and probably last) time to the opening of his art class’s gallery show at the downtown Salt Lake City Library. For this year’s entry, my son chose “The Kelpies” — a majestic painting he did …

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For about five years when they were little, my son and daughter had a bug refuge in our front yard where they would bring insects after they’d caught them to enjoy a “spa” getaway. They built little houses for the bugs out of small twigs and dried leaves, and they wouldn’t allow me to pull …

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