childhood / college / kids

Wrecking the Empty Nest

Driving out west and confronting all that open highway provided me the perfect opportunity to think about the years, where they went, why they fell in a mountainous heap and sifted through my fingers like the white, swift sands of time. We drove onward as the highway cut through red canyons, and Voila!….it’s exactly a Thin Lizzy song.


Somewhere out there is buried treasure forgotten by Coronado, or so the legend goes. Rattlesnake paradise, real working cowboys and Texas Tech spirit permeates this area as Tech flags hang from abandoned buildings, small gas stations in these tiny, almost ghost towns dotting the way to the campus.



It’s official – I’m an Empty Nest Person, emphasis on empty. I took my young, handsome, remarkably suddenly grown-up son (when did that happen???) and deposited him on the grounds of this massive institution.

We have been through much together. Baseball games, basketball season and lots and lots of football. I wondered where was that 11 year-old who used to whine for every Pokemon card he could get his hands on? Skateboards, hungry friends, sleepovers and Advanced Reading tests that he was always behind with. Poof! It’s all over. Many things finished, yet the future looming as if it was just right over the big, orange streak lighting that western sky.

The move-in was as massive as the campus, kids everywhere, parents with carts, a mini refrigerator bonanza. All of a sudden, it’s dinner time, then I’m hugging a young man towering over me who used to be the little boy tugging at my hand. It’s ok, it’s life, you know. He’s not the first to grow up, he won’t be the last. Soon (I hope), I will be out of my semi-sobbing state and on to other things in my life.



I look around the campus at the buildings rising up from that flat land, the library in the distance, and I think about books. And possibilities. I think of my own school days in the library on a cold November evening, and a research paper I didn’t care about as I read snippets of great literature flowing like a grand paper fountain at a small table where I could look out at the cold dusk as little freezing droplets of water reminded me that I should get going.

Then I was back on that highway again going home. I was sad but also happily optimistic for my young man with the promise of a bright future unfolding like that wide open highway that connects me to my only son.



9 thoughts on “Wrecking the Empty Nest

  1. I’ve never been one of these to wish that my children were babies again because I looked forward to every stage of their life and found it exciting. Your probably dealing with one of the toughest though and I can only imagine what it will be like when (and if, ha, ha)it happens to me. Suddenly sidetracked by images of kicking them out when they’re 35. Anyway, dare I say it will all change when the grandchildren come.

    • I think since he is the last one and since the other two are so much older that there is just such an air of finality about the whole thing. I’m sure I will get used to him being gone, I just have those crazy emotional days. is better 🙂

      • Well good it is improving. I imagine it also opens up a lot of doors and freedom for you. Now that my son is 12, I’m enjoying the freedom of not having to constantly supervise him but if he leaves for college in another state, that will be a big one.

    • Oh yes, college life is that last bit of fun before they have to get serious. I think what has got me down is that when you are raising kids life us so crazy busy, then presto…it all stops and they are gone. I’m sure I will adjust and soon I will say, boy? What boy? Who needs one? Ha ha!

  2. Great video! “My Friend, Jack” attends a concert in London:

    “So, Birthday Girl! How are we going to celebrate tonight?” he asked.
    “I’ve got tickets for the Hammersmith Odeon tonight. Thin Lizzie’s on!”
    “Really! Christ, I saw them supporting Pink Floyd in Notting Hill Gate back in ’69. They must have been just starting out. I didn’t know they were still going. Great rockers! What was it? “The Boys Are Back In Town”?”
    “And “Jailbreak”. But we’d better get our skates on. It starts at seven-thirty.”
    They made it with a few minutes to spare and soon found themselves on the balcony seats cheering the incredible guitarists along, and Phil Lynott’s bass bursting in their ears, as he pranced around the stage like a demented dandelion.

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