The empty nest is more than one thing. There ought to be identified stages along the empty nest trail: the youngest kid has left for college stage; the everyone-has-their-own-place stage; the established life trajectories or life partners stage. Slowly, their childhood home, your home, retreats in significance, though it may always hold their hearts. And there are empty nest moments, like when you spend the night in your child’s home, but they are away.
I have grown to cherish solitude. The solitude of waking up in your daughter’s empty house is unique, and precious in its own way. I feel like a benevolent ghost, wandering her spaces. There is the dog paraphernalia, the art and photos hanging on the walls – some hers, some her fiancés, the rumpled sheets of her room, signs of a bustling departure, signs of a dynamic life. Her familiar stuffed animals at the bedside make me smile.
Last night, I heard her upstairs landlord arrive home. An evening arrival, the wild tip-tapping of dog feet, and a sweet human voice cooing her laughing, loving greeting. I love to think about Tessa hearing that. This is where my daughter lives.
It’s a gift, occupying Tessa’s space for time, undistracted. Here she is. Here is her dear life. To top it off, there was also Ben & Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in the fridge.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 26: 154 words, TOTAL = 3950; 56,050 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.