Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day One back in the Empty Nest

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity. We successfully navigated the trip to Knoxville to deposit our sons and all most of their worldly belongings. It was a bittersweet day.

Even though I have repeatedly made comments about getting my life and house back in order, I will miss my boys dreadfully. They bring chaos and disorder, but they also bring laughter and fun, deep theological and political discussions, and general everyday conversation and companionship.

As we departed last night I felt a sadness that I didn't expect. It came from the realization that this is the fourth and final time we will be dropping Ian off. As a senior facing graduation he is perched on the edge of the nest ready to fly permanently away from mama bird. I've been pushing him out of the nest for three years now, but he's always returned. This time though I anticipate watching his wings spread wide as he soars through the air, seeking a new adventure, disappearing faintly into the horizon. I liken it to the story of Noah
 6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
We were able to talk in the few short days he was home about what his future might hold. So many possibilities, so many responsibilities, so many decisions to make. And while Mom and Dad are here for moral support and advice when asked for, he's facing the fact that he's now an adult and ultimately it's up to him to make life's choices. I know that Ian is ready to be on his own even when he expresses fear of the unknown and feeling a bit overwhelmed concerning his future. I have no doubt he will make good choices but as a mother I don't think I will ever stop worrying and fretting over him.

Before I get any more maudlin over the situation, I present these photos which gives you a glimpse of the chaos I've been screeching about.

 This is what the boy's bedroom looked like twelve hours before time to leave.

Clothes, books, musical instruments, and boxes everywhere.


I walked into his room, not to find him frantically packing, but sitting in the midst of all this chaos, strumming his guitar. Naturally I squawked and he politely reminded me "Mom! I've missed my guitar. Don't worry. I've got it under control,  I'll be ready in the morning." And you know what? He was!

Here's a shot of the aftermath which to some of you may appear to still be a mess, but goodness what an improvement. Just give me a couple of days and I will whip this place into shape, I might even slap a few coats of paint on the walls.

Meanwhile the only other thing I have to say about this guy is, last night as we were turning onto our street I got this text   haha! Gosh I love this boy!

Andrew has been sitting on the sidelines listening to our conversations about the future. Ever the planner, it's beginning to sink in that he is right behind his brother. He's already thinking ahead to next summer when he has to serve an internship with a non-profit organization. This summer's internship with our youth minister was a dream summer job - getting paid to work with the youth, go on trips, and in general have a fun-filled summer. Next year will be an entirely different story. But don't fret about it now son, just enjoy your junior year as student body vice president (did you like the way I snuck in that proud mommy moment?) My son, a natural born leader.   The VP and his roommate, Ben.

I don't have any crazy chaos photos to show of Andrew's room. Even in the midst of all the stuff he managed to keep things fairly neat. He began the packing process over the weekend and had all his stuff boxed and stacked in the dining room waiting to be loaded into the car. There was a LOT of it though and I was having serious doubts as to what was actually going to make the cut. One day I'll learn not to doubt his ability to pack a car ... every single thing made it, albeit not an inch to spare.

I do have a shot of his room after the school stuff was gone
 see how neat and orderly he is? He's that way all the time .... I guarantee you he's going to make some girl a wonderful husband one day!

Oh, oh ... do you see the see the black rolling chair there in front of the window? We will have a moment of silence for what wasn't meant to be. Both boys were extremely sad that their beloved office chairs had to be left behind. Short of strapping them to the back of the cars and pulling them all the way to Knoxville, there just wasn't room on this trip. For the record, I did offer up this solution but strangely enough it was voted down. But that's ok, by keeping the chairs hostage at home I am ensured of a return visit fairly soon.

We were excited to see Sarah on campus. She's looking so cute with her new short haircut (that I forgot to take a photo of so you'll just have to take my word for it). We got to see where graduate students live (no more dorms, yay!) and were treated to a yummy dinner that she cooked just for us. She brought us all something back from her visit home this summer. I'm so excited to have enough chapstick to cover my lips for the next year and this beautiful washi paper (I can't wait to make something with it, more on that later, just trust me when I say the photo doesn't do justice to the paper, it's gorgeous!), and Dale got a snack mix that he loves. She shared with us her trip to northern Japan in the area where the tsunami hit. It's too much to share here but if you like you can read her account here

After our short visit with Sarah we knew it was time to say our goodbyes and head home where our empty nest was awaiting us. Hugs all around. I have to admit I got a little teary eyed telling my youngest goodbye. I'm going to miss his visits to my room late at night just to chat and the afternoons he was off work and chose to spend time with mom (he loves Chick-fil-A almost as much as me!). It's going to be pretty quiet without the sounds coming from the xbox and hearing his laughter and shouts as he games with his friends.

Let's be honest here for a minute. I would be remiss if I also didn't include that I'm gonna miss not having someone here to run to Kroger for that one ingredient I need to complete dinner. I'm not however, gonna miss waiting up late at night for him to come home! Sorry, I'm one of those mommas.

I'm going to miss the older boy too, but not as much since he abandoned us for the summer. It's sorta been like he was still at school all this time. I think he was just preparing us for what is to come. This little bird is on the edge of nest, flapping his wings, preparing to take flight ...

and all the while mama bird is sitting back in her nest clapping and crying at the same time.

I'll comfort myself by sharing some photos that I shamelessly snagged off Facebook of my chickadees having summer fun.

Andrew white water rafting with the middle schoolers

 Ian and his fellow Camp Sambica buddies....yes, that is GUM stuck all over the wall. Gross!

 Sarah having a meal in Japan with family and friends.


  1. Aww super sweet post. I'll tell ya, at least this is how it has worked with us. I so enjoy being an adult and being friends with my parents. Getting to spend time with them (when I can which is tough when they are halfway across the country.) But with Skype, email, etc. They are never far away. In fact I'm headed on vacation with them in a couple weeks-can't wait!

  2. Janet I know what you mean and I'm certainly enjoying my sons on a different level now that they're adults. However, getting them to use all that technology can be a challenge! I have to beg for emails and would settle for the occasional text. Maybe if the difference of boys vs. girls when it comes to communicating??