My Parental Playbook: The Empty Nest Revisited
We had just adjusted to a millennial-free home when about five months ago, my oldest kid boomeranged back after two years of “the year of Will”. He got to work replenishing his depleted coffers, and began his quest for full time employment. It was great to have his energy back home, notwithstanding skyrocketing grocery bills and declining standards of household cleanliness.
And sure enough, after a few months crewing with a pool maintenance company he announced he had landed a full time job with one of the big banks,and was moving to the other side of the country… Kelowna, BC. So, in late September I watched as he packed up his belongings and prepared to for his trip west. It reminded me of all those years before, going through those checklists, getting him ready to head off to summer camp.
This time was different. Instead of getting on a bus full of fellow campers, he would be driving west in his own car, accompanied by his father. They pulled out of the driveway, stuffed to the gunnels with every imaginable piece of sporting gear, leaving barely enough room for the odd suit and tie, let alone two adult men. It was a true “father and son adventure”.
I caught up with them in Calgary, as their trip coincided with a speaking engagement in the west. I was wedged into the car and we lurched the overloaded beater through Rogers Pass, over the continental divide, and eventually into Kelowna. Woo hoo!
Once on the ground, my maternal instincts kicked into gear, and I got down to work helping my young son get set up. We hit yard sales and flea markets acquiring coffee makers, frying pans, utensils, tools, back up tennis rackets, and mugs – all for less than breakfast for three at Tim’s. This was my last gasp as a helicopter parent, and I was going out in style!
But we were on his turf now, and after a few days it was pretty clear that he was ready to see us depart and get on with his life, as in “Mom and Dad, thanks for everything! Now be sure and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” This was like Summer Camp drop-off in reverse, with me being the one that is getting choked up.
So strike up the violins and please pass the Kleenex! My only consolation on the flight home was to know that our dog Dexter would be waiting for us like our kids used to wait for Christmas morning. Whew! At least I still had one creature left to look after.
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