The Return of the Empty Nest

Tomorrow, my daughter returns to Boston University to start her senior year, and I’ll be back in the empty nest.

The fact that she’s a senior in college is almost too much for me to believe. Not that I ever had any doubt that she’d succeed in college – she’s the kind of person who sets her mind on a goal and makes it happen. The maturing and growing she’s done the past 3 years has been right on course with what I hoped for her. She is becoming a fully formed adult, which makes me happy and proud, but also, today, very nostalgic.

My brother has seven-year-old twins, and he said something to me the other day about how hard it is for him to imagine them at my children’s ages – 21 and 19. I told him it’s almost as hard for me to believe that my kids were ever as young as his – that’s what time does to us. I remember the sweetness of summer with them at that time of their lives. Those were the days of going to camp, then coming home and jumping in the pool, the wide-open feeling of July and August, when everything moved more slowly and I could just be with them, watch them, no lessons or school or homework, no baseball or softball practice – just the kids, here, with me.

This summer I had a chance to do that again, in a way.

My son came home from Tucson and worked, but he was here most evenings for dinner, and we would sit around and talk, watch some TV, just be together, which was such a nice feeling – no worries about college for a brief time, just family and friends and grilled steaks. Then for a few days, they were both home – and that was really something. They bickered like they were kids, we went out for a lovely dinner one night – but it was brief, and bittersweet since they would both be leaving again soon and we would once again be alone in our empty nest.

Tomorrow, when my daughter gets on the plane to go to Boston, we will once again have an empty nest, starting the process of adjusting to the quiet of just two of us once more. While I was grocery shopping yesterday, I felt a longing for those summer days when they were little, when I was buying juice boxes and gummy fruits and grapes and pasta salad, knowing they’d come home hungry and thirsty. I miss those days when they were still young enough to be thrilled with little things like a stop at Blockbuster for a new movie to watch, or a visit from their grandmother on a warm Saturday.

Now it seems to take so much to get them really excited, but who can blame them?

Their worlds have grown so much since those summer days, and that’s the way it should be. But still, sitting together and watching “Jeopardy” can make all of us feel, for a little while, like we’re still that family – which we will always be, whenever we can.

Please follow and like us:


  • tear…I can't believe it has been four years..


  • I am glad you were able to have them both together for the summer. My last one left the nest last year so we haven't had everyone together for quite some time. I long for those days too. Glad to meet you via SMGirlfriends! Lisa
    My Blog

  • Wow. I'm in the same boat! Putting NY daughter Rosie in the plane tomorrow to go back to BU. She's starting her junior year, but just second year in their BFA program. Melancholy times. But new opportunities too. Just blogged about it at

  • I think having them come and go is the way we get prepared for the time when they are married and settled and only come for short visits. I love that they revert back to brother/sister interactions (my adult nephews even get back into wrestling matches to maintain their pecking order!) So glad you had them home for a while (although it’s never long enough) ~ Leanne

    • Sharon Greenthal

      I love when they come to visit, but then it’s good when they go home. They are adults now.

Comments are closed.