I have officially declared the month Empty-Nest November.
I do this because people always ask me, "What's it like being an empty-nester?"
And my response is, "I have no idea! My children are home all the time."
When all three kids left for college at the end of August, we anticipated missing them. But it was a rough start with Tucker being sick. He was home most every weekend and some days before and after the weekend to visit the doctor or the dentist. Finally, around the end of September, he was healthy, but the weekends home were well established. Add to that, the fact that his girlfriend lives here in town, and we still see him every other weekend.
|Tucker obviously having a horrible|
time at the campus Halloween party.
The university luckily has a bus that he can take home, so we haven't been able to ban him from returning. What it means, is like a baby and toddler who doesn't bond with his parents, he hasn't really been able to bond with his college. He's drawn back to Columbus, a town that is easy to love.
So the last day of October, first weekend in November, Tucker sat down with me and Earl to explain why he didn't want to go back to his college in January. Instead, he wants to stay in Columbus. He'll attend the local community college and transfer to Ohio State.
Earl and I were really opposed to this. Then the fight began about whether he'd have to live at home or could get an apartment. We stuck to our guns, saying he wasn't old enough or responsible enough to get an apartment. He could live at home while going to school and then move into the dorms at Ohio State in the fall.
So, if he follows through with this, come the middle of December, he'll be home until August. Earl and I have a whole list of conditions for Tucker, and one of those includes that he must stay on campus the entire month of November until Thanksgiving. He also has to join two clubs and sign up for classes in January, just in case he changes mind. (Fingers crossed!). We told him he'd have to work while living at home and that he needed to be "more pleasant" to Earl and me.
If I was a teenager, I'd definitely go back to living in the dorms in January and plan to transfer the following year, but we'll see what he decides.
|Grace at a recent audition, slowly |
recovering from her illness.
Also cutting down on our empty-nest days this fall is the fact that Grace has been ill for weeks. After two weeks of believing she had the flu, the health center finally declared she had mono or strep. Since the treatment for strep and mono are very different, Earl picked Grace up and took her to our doctor where they did actual tests and decided Grace had mono.
She hasn't been that sick since she was a baby. Her fever continued for days. She was miserable and too weak to make her own coffee in the mornings. So she was home for a week and every weekend trying to recover, through this past Monday.
Thus, my call for Empty-Nest November.
Whether Tucker transfers colleges or not, our empty-nest days are still coming to an end. Grace will graduate from college in December. With her degree in Theater, she may face a long audition period before she gets a job in her field. We decided that it didn't make sense to continue to pay rent on her apartment by her college, so she'll be moving home until she has a full-time job.
If we knew that she was staying in Columbus, we'd definitely help her get settled in an apartment here, but she may end up anywhere. She's going to audition for cruise ships in December, so she could be out of the house in January.
Earl and I are prepared for a longer period of grown-children invasion. But as we look back at our brief empty-nest period, we feel like we hardly got to enjoy it. So we're really splurging in November.
We ordered pizza with mushrooms on it the other night, something the kids would never eat. I'm rarely cooking these days, and when I do, only cooking things that I really want!
Earl and I realize that someday we'll wish our kids would come home more often, but until then, how can we miss them if they won't go away?
We'll delight in Empty-Nest November and look forward to some family time through the holidays.