October 30, 2015

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The Empty Nest: Lots of Fluttering Lisa Kunkleman


Our “empty nest syndrome” isn’t what I expected. Not only is it empty of kids, recently it’s been empty of adults too. We’re running back and forth to the kids’ universities nearly every weekend for something. Mainly to football games, which I suppose is understandable since we purchased season tickets for both schools. How could we choose just one? We have boys in the marching bands at both schools and if anybody knows band parents, they rarely miss performances.

Still, I thought there would be more free time for moping around and working on those undone “to do” lists. Nope. It hasn’t happened yet. Not that I’m complaining. I just expected longer stretches of time for wailing and wallowing. I get started misting up and prepare to blog my heart out in support of other parents going through the same empty nesters’ trauma, then I glance at my calendar. Oh good grief! I forgot to unpack my damp, rained-on socks and jeans that are molding in my overnight bag from the last rainy ballgame trip. I dashed to empty it so I could air it out and repack it to cross the state again.

“Dan, are you sure the pet sitter’s coming today? At least when the kids were here we could leave home once in a while and have built in animal sitters. Now, we’re more tied down than ever needing outside help with this menagerie,” I said.

“ Yep. The horses have hay and the dogs are in the back fence until she comes at suppertime. They have water and the cats have food in their bowls. Everybody is fine. You worry about them more than you do the kids,” he said.

“The kids are too far out of sight to worry about, but I can see the animals pitiful eyes,” I said.

Hubby Dan and I hit the road again to the mountains with all the slow-driving “leaf peepers” on one of the peak color weekends and skidded in to the game in the nick of time to sit with our freshman daughter and watched one son play baritone with his marching band. While there, we also celebrated Dan’s birthday, fed those two freshmen and one roommate a couple of meals, and took them all on a much-needed Wal-Mart run so they wouldn’t have to move their car and lose their parking space.

So far, we lucked out and the university event planners alternated home games pretty well until homecoming hit both colleges on the same Saturday. Fortunately for us, our oldest daughter and her husband’s alma mater is the same university where our other son plays sax in the marching band, so they filled in for us and saved the day attending that homecoming.

Up next, we all go see that son’s band perform “Thriller” at the nearby university for the special Halloween show. Let’s see, where did I put those tickets and the parking pass? At least that event doesn’t require us to sleep over.

Dividing and conquering, parenting is often like juggling lots of balls and dropping as few as possible. It’s how we’ve stayed afloat with our gaggle of kids all these years. I don’t know why I thought it would suddenly stop when they went to college. Our nest is empty more often these days but never for long, as all the birds, even Mama and Papa, continue to flutter in and out.

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