Saturday, January 23, 2010

A State of the Nest Report

As of the beginning of January when Kat moved into her sorority at the University of Washington, none of our kids have been living at home. The house is quiet and clean and someone is not happy.


When our evenings were filled with the craziness of raising four kids, I wondered whether the day would ever come when our evenings were quiet and peaceful instead of filled with dinner-serving, homework-helping, bath-giving, lunch-making, story-reading, and in-tucking. On more than a few occasions back then I longed for those peaceful days to come.

Well, let me tell you: nice as it is -- and it definitely has its perks… like a perpetually clean and very peaceful house and all that “hey, we’re aloooone!” time we could ever want -- empty-nesting is over-rated.

By Friday, both Tom and I are wondering – sometimes silently and sometimes out-loud, whether any of the kids will come home for the weekend. Not wanting to be that parent who calls and asks, “Are you coming home this weekend, honey? I’ll make you your favorite dinner,” we’ve learned to wait and see whether they instigate a visit.

Granted, the incentive is often pretty clear…


…but by 2:00 on Friday afternoon, either Tom or I usually get a text message asking if there’s any way one of us can stop by UW on our way home to bring one or both of the twins home for a day or two.

The Greek life and the academic life at UW are both intense, and those young lives are filled with a play hard, work hard existence.


As fun and full as life is at school, there’s little real privacy or down-time and I think that by Friday afternoon Aleks and Kat just need a bit of this…

IMG_2869 … and this:


Sometimes Elisabeth will come home for a few hours or an overnight as well, and if we’re lucky – as we have been lately due to logistics like a car in need of repair – Peter might even drive the five hours from Pullman to give us a short-lived, but very enjoyable full-nest for the weekend.

By Sunday night a quiet, clean house seems fine with me again… and I’m sure a parent-free week or two is fine with the kids as well. But often, within a few weeks the proverbial -- and literal -- laundry basket is full again and we have our favorite weekend visitors back in the nest.

I think the greatest gift Tom and I have are four adult kids who like us, who like each other, and who like being home as a family – while at the same time having very full independent lives.


That, in itself, sometimes fills my gratitude cup to the brim.

It also makes someone else around here very, very happy:


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Sam said...

hee hee!!! That is one happy looking dog!! :-)

Sunny said...

Awwww... how great it must be to have the kids home, getting along and enjoying each other! DH and I always giggle when my FIL leans in to my MIL during a family meal and says, "Look honey, your whole family is together." (He has 3 younger siblings in various stages of leaving the nest.) But I can understand it... as much as I look forward to having time with my hubby again, I know I will miss our son!

Margaret said...

Wonderful photos--and yes, the empty nest is overrated. I love getting visits from my messy daughters! Great family/canine bonding going on there. :)

Goofball said...

I thought Kat wasn't living home in the fall either?

I think you get the best of both worlds now: busy weekends with the family and some quiet week days which I'm sure you can appreciate with your busy job.

Sasha is totally hilarious!!!

Betsy said...

Thank you for giving me hope that families can survive the teenage years intact! So it IS possible to get along with your teenage / young adult children!? We're not there yet, but I'm pretty much dreading it. Hope we're able to navigate the waters as smoothly as you and Tom have!

Carol said...

Believe me, Betsy, it hasn't always been completely smooth... but it's always been HONEST and looking back, I have decided that's the key. We didn't always like what the kids told us about their lives and choices, but the fact that they felt OK TELLING us all along (which mean we had to very carefully calibrate consequences and feedback), it turns out, is THE big factor.

You'll do fine!


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