The Empty Nester Chronicles, Part II

It was the first full day in Evanston of our being empty nesters, and, in a strange way, nearly 11 years into our marriage, it feels like Dunreith and I are newlyweds.

We saw the signs of Aidan’s missing presence at various points in the day-in a glance at his now empty bedroom, in thinking about contacting him, and in realizing that he would not be there at the end of the day when we returned home from work.

I thought about how he enjoyed his second day of classes, about if he feels himself settling into any kind of routine, or what he will do during his first full weekend in New Orleans.

In a lot of ways, the day felt like I was wearing a new set of clothes that do not yet fit, the material calling attention to itself as I put it on and afterward.

It’s not that our activities were different from a normal Tuesday after a three-day weekend.

We got up, showered, had breakfast and prepared for the morning ride into work.

We checked in during the day and met afterward, talking about our days and  stopping at Whole Foods for a Kombucha before returning home for dinner.

It was our orientation.

At the same time, for the first time since we’ve been together, here in Chicago, Dunreith and I were just thinking about ourselves.

I know that Aidan’s been at camp before for a couple of weeks, but always for a defined amount of time and with the promise of return to our home.

Even though we’ll see Aidan at the end of next month, at Parents’ weekend at the end of October and at Thanksgiving, this feels different.

His time as a child in our home is over.

His orbit is out toward the world.

And he’s not here, but 950 miles away in New Orleans.

The empty nester clothes will feel more comfortable soon, and I’m excited to explore with Dunreith our new life together.

It’s just a little itchy right now.




2 responses to “The Empty Nester Chronicles, Part II

  1. Your metaphors and similes hit the bullseye all the way through this reflection…a wonderful read. I wonder how my own parents felt when I departed the nest for college. I felt their sense of loss and perhaps the astonishment of realizing 18 years had just gone by in what seemed like a flash, and seeing a son leave the nest, watching me pack my steamer trunk then driving me to college, and my father’s weekly notes with his “greentings”, a few bucks for me to spend as an allowance in absentia. Aidan wont have to wonder how you feel. You’ve spoken the words and now written them. Im sure he will keep that letter you silently handed him as you and Dunreith parted Tulane, leaving a man child to make his way in the world.

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