Family Life


The other day, a friend asked if my husband and I will be “empty nesters” now that our youngest son has finished high school.

The simple answer is yes. Come September, that is what we expect will happen. That’s the natural order of things, right?

The kids grow up, they move out, start their own lives. They stay in touch, they come home for holidays and special occasions. If they live nearby, they might drop by just to say hi, have a meal, take the dog for a walk.

But then, they return to their homes. They no longer sleep under your roof. They are no longer living in your nest.

Here’s the thing, however – life comes at you fast. And sometimes, when the unexpected happens, your nest is the best place; the most convenient, or comforting, or cheapest, or safest place. Sometimes, the kids end up back in your nest, even if only temporarily.

My husband and I expect that we will soon be empty nesters. We enthusiastically support our sons’ steps toward independence; we are proud of the young men they’ve become and are still becoming. We’re also looking forward to life as a couple, just the two of us, for the first time in decades.

We also know that the nest may not always be empty. And, that’s okay with us. We, like all parents, want what’s best for our children – even after they’ve grown up. If what’s best is for them to return home, we’ll always make room for them to do so. I suspect most parents feel the same way.

While the simple answer is yes, the real answer is more complicated. The term “empty nesters” may only refer to a period of time, not a permanent state of being.

So, here’s a cuppa for all of us who watch as our children fly from our nests, knowing that it’s a good and exciting and happy part of life. And, here’s a cuppa for all of us who know that, should the time come, we’ll also open our arms and our hearts to welcome them back.

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