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By Jesse Utz 

"The Empty Nest" can sting a bit

Jess Shut Up

 


I was all prepared to write this column about “Elk Tag Soup! It’s What’s For Dinner,” but life got in the way as soon as I got home from Mooney Landing Elk Camp.

Our son, who graduated this year, left Sunday afternoon for Spokane. He will start college in the winter quarter but wanted to get all moved in early. As I write this, he has only been gone a few hours but my emotions keep bubbling up.

I have heard a lot of parents over the years speak of the difficulty of coming to terms with an empty nest. I always was a little skeptical, thinking that when that day comes it will be a celebration of no more dirty underwear in the bathroom, big dirty boots in the middle of the living room, piles of moldy dishes coming mysteriously out of the darkest corners of his room in the middle of the night and sitting next to the sink. No more being his alarm clock, or cooking him meals that we don’t like. No more worrying till the wee hours of the morning if he’s OK, no more marathon games of Risk and Monopoly. And on and on …

But the reality of it is this, for me, I mean. I feel like my best friend left. Plain and simple. Am I going to worry? Yes. Already am. The house just feels different with out him. Karrie and I have been so wet in the eye area since he sprung this on us that we cannot even speak to each other very seriously about it. I think we are quietly dealing with it on our own, for now. It hurts a bit to share just yet. (I get to cheat, I write a column.) Then, big reality hits me again.

What about big families. The Archers, the Barrys and other large close families in our community. They had, or will have to, deal with this time and time again and then, whoosh. Quiet. Here I am whimpering about one son going to start his life on his own. A bigger reality hits. There are lots of others in this very community, recently and over the years, that have lost a son or daughter forever. My attitude changes a bit.

I already have started thinking about how much nicer the garage area will be now and the basement (Levi’s game room) can finally be cleaned out properly. Yes I will have to take the garbage out now and maybe pay some local youngster to pull weeds once in a while. And maybe even his old friends will stop by from time to time like they always did when he was here. Trips to Spokane to check on him, Holidays, weekends. Maybe this will be a special time to learn to miss each other and embrace your time together when you get a small moment.

Oh, and he already told me he will be back next weekend. What am I worried about? He will be just fine. Karrie and I will be too. So will you and your Empty Nest. (Just fill the space with cats; that’s what John Francis would say.)

Sorry if this column leaves you scratching your head a bit. It was just me sharing my heart a bit and letting the gooey, blubber, ooze from the center. Hurry Home.

 

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