I am on the brink of a totally new season. I guess we’ll call it “emptier nester”.  As of next fall, only one of my three boys will be left at home. I’m not yet an empty nester, but the nest is about to be very quiet and very different than it’s ever been before.

It hit me like a freight train about a week ago, while cooking dinner one typical Monday night. I’m scooping food onto plates as my boys, 17 & 18, are laughing and rough housing in the living room. I started thinking how it’s going to be so much quieter when he leaves for college in a few short months.

Down the Rabbit Hole

And suddenly, I’m spinning down the rabbit hole of how different things are going to be when he’s gone. This is going to be so depressing. His brother is going to be so lonely without him. How am I supposed to keep his spirits up when I’m going to be so sad myself?  How in the world am I going to fill the void that’s going to be left when he’s gone? Is he going to want to go and live with his dad, just to escape the monotony of living here, just the two of us? Down, down, down I went. Convincing myself that this was going to be the hardest stage yet. 

You’d think it would be easier, the second time around. I’ve already sent one out of the nest and we survived. But that was different. That time, I was all about the oldest. How is he going to make it on his own? How often will we hear from him or see him? But, I still had two more here to keep me company and distract me from the void of the oldest being gone.  This time, the void will seemingly only get bigger and more noticeable. The quiet, even louder.  It would be very easy for me to be overcome with sadness and grief, as I prepare for and adjust to this upcoming new season as a mother.  


I shared this with my Life Coach that same week, describing the future that it seemed I was destined for.  And in her typical, amazing fashion, she challenged me to try and reframe this upcoming season in a new light. What if this could be a perfect opportunity for me to create traditions and memories with my youngest that I’ve never been able to do before?

She shared a memory of when her older sister went off to college and how hard it was on her and her parents. But she also shared how her dad started a new tradition with her, taking her to the donut shop every Saturday morning, just the two of them. She still looks back with fond memories of the quality time with her dad. My youngest is really into cooking, cooking shows and hopes to get into a culinary program after graduation.  She suggested maybe having him cook and invite some of his friends over to eat, maybe once a month.  

Suddenly, the emptier nest didn’t sound so empty. I still imagine there will be moments of sadness, loss and grief that my youngest son and I will have to learn to navigate. But now I have hope that it won’t have to be shrouded in those things. I can find silver linings, and new frames to put these new traditions and memories within.  

The season changes whether we want them to or not. How we frame them is up to us. 

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