July 27, 2018


Empty Nest Flutterings: Come on Down, Mr. Treehouse


By Lisa Batten Kunkleman


There comes a time, when the nest is empty, we push back the tears and make room for other things; like hammocks and memories. Today’s the day. Once a sturdy sight for kid’s eyes. Barn red siding, climbing pegs, and a yellow slide, you were a group project and a work of art. A tree house for people and squirrels. Now you’ve done your job, and it’s time to rest. Come on down. We’ll share our memories in the shade of the very same young trees that both supported and later stressed your floorboards, as they grew tall. Welcome to a new season.


Don’t worry birdies, if we ever need another tree house, we can build a new one.

To be continued…


26 thoughts on “Empty Nest Flutterings: Come on Down, Mr. Treehouse

    • I know. It was a tearful moment. In reality the trees had shifted as they grew making it less secure. It became more of a decoration and a huge not-so-lovely memory-keeper than a functional and safe house. When the time comes that we have a new generation of ankle biters, I’m sure there will be potential for another group project design and flurry of hammers tapping away.

  1. I know that feeling. Our play gym came down about 8 years ago and it opened up a whole new space in our back yard. It was sad, but also liberating!

    • I like the world liberating. I’ve learned that each stage brings new even unimaginable joys. We keep moving forward while carrying lovely memories inside.

  2. I would have so kept that. 🙂

    • It was hard. For us it’s hard to get rid of anything.Literally and emotionally. Tougher to pull down than thought. But the tree growth changed the stability. Eventually our grown kids will enjoy building an even better one for our future grandkids. I have no doubt of that. And we have a barn full of wood for them to use. My husband never let anything go to waste and is happy to collect decent wood from projects. I didn’t show the first two attempts. The old guy surprised us. (The treehouse is the old guy, not my husband.) Hardly budged even when two supports came out. Here’s the good news. My hubby the handyman known as Dan the Man took the debris along with some long cedar posts and is using it to build a bridge in the woods across a creek that fills our pond. It’s gonna be so cool. Will show the finished project or perhaps the process later. We don’t waste anything around here. Have no fear. Transition and transformation should be our motto.

      • I love the idea of building a bridge. We have one over a channel that connects our two ponds. The funny thing is, we had a litter of kittens this spring and everyone of them jumped off the bridge at some point. They were not in any danger but it was funny to watch them get the “one time learning experience”.

  3. Oh my! I can only imagine how hard it was to remove that wonderful tree house filled with all sorts of memories and experiences. I think you are very courageous to be “moving forward” and looking to the future rather than stuck in the memories gone by, which is easy to do. It is very true that when we clear things away, we make space for the new. When we moved to Nicaragua after all the children had finished high school, I had to give up their wooden childhood blocks that they had all used for years as children. Why that was so hard for me I don’t know… but somehow those beautiful plain blocks represented their childhoods and all the good times. I was hoping to keep them for the grandchildren, but that was silly. Yes, they too can get new blocks rather than have me store a huge box of wood in a house that I no longer have.


    • I think I’m more sad about your blocks than about our treehouse. Wow. I can’t imagine. We live in my husband’s family home and have an attic and barns filled with memory/sentimental items. If we didn’t have a place to store them, that would be an entirely different story.

  4. Here my husband and grandson are about to embark on building a tree house. So far they have agreed on very little besides that it will be built. I think my grandson(he’s 8) has ambitions far beyond my husband’s(he’s 68) ability. We will see!

  5. Sad. It must have been so difficult. I am sure you will make new memories.

  6. Well that came down so easy.

  7. Lisa,
    Recycling this is a brilliant idea! Much better than throwing it away, designating it to firewood and the like. I love the bridge and the idea that a new treehouse may one day emerge if needed. bravo!

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