emptying the nest

Empty nest and empty nesters. We know what these mean. The first, a house, which had children at one time, now, without children. The second, the parents of said grown and departed children.

When I was seven months pregnant with our first child, my husband and I decided to move from our small apartment to a house. I say, decided. The truth is that a more experienced co-worker looked around our one-bedroom and said, “You’re going to have a baby in here?!” She might as well have said, “You idiots know nothing about parenting. Quickly, get yourselves more space.”

We bought a house a block away from that apartment. We loved the neighborhood. We’d lived in our apartment for three years. We lived in the house for twenty-two years. Our children grew up in that house. They invented games in the wide, carpeted stairwell. They played in its small, urban yard. They climbed the catalpa tree on its alley up to the next door garage roof. They slammed its doors when they were angry. They broke a couple of windows—one when rough-housing, the other with a baseball. We ate thousands of meals in the huge kitchen. We slept thousands of nights in those big bedrooms. We lounged with books and television for thousands of hours in the bright playroom. We loved that old house.

For several reasons, we moved this summer to a house built in 2013. The house is a tad smaller than our 1904, but each child has a bedroom. We’ve downsized only a little. (We did take 20 carloads of stuff to Goodwill and send three pickup-truckfuls to the dump.) But our most notable loss will be of the younger generation.

I became a mother in the old house. In this one, I will become a crone. Or am I too young? For three months I’ve seen nothing of my period. Along with my younger child heading off to college and our bold move to a modern house, my body is marking all these changes with its own. No more babies for me. Not that I was planning any. The eggs are gone and no further will be laid. This is an emptying nest.


About pamelahobartcarter

Pamela Hobart Carter is a writer and educator. She and Arleen Williams are No Talking Dogs Press. They have written several series of easy readers for adult English Language Learners and other adults learning to read. PHC is the author of Brace Yourself, a survival guide for adults undergoing orthodontia.
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12 Responses to emptying the nest

  1. The empty nest … something many of us moms of twenty-somethings can relate to. Whether it’s a new house or the same old place, we all become crones. Well done, Pamela.

  2. Sheila Wicklund says:

    Makes me miss you, and the girls, and the team. We would love another visit please. Sooner than later preferably, from 1 crone to another. Let me know when yoh are up for it. I believe its our turnto come yiur way again. Nice blog. ; )

  3. Arleen, thanks! Will I know when I’m a crone? My children will tell me!

  4. We will never be crones! If I put my glasses on, I see a face with character and a body that loves to explore. 😉

  5. Susan Knox says:

    A lovely lyrical piece marking one of life’s major shifts. Well done Pam.

    • Susan, thank you! I am not good at recognizing shifts as they happen. This empty nest will hit me hard soon (late). E.M. Forester nails it–“A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.” When I read Howard’s End, as a late teen, I wrote that line in my quotation notebook. It has stuck with me. Not verbatim, had to look it up, but the accuracy of how it felt for me.

  6. Jenny says:

    Lovely post. You are lucky to be sans period for 3 months! I can’t wait until that happens. Menopause, where are you? Please visit!

  7. Welcome to the world of blogging! What a nice first post. I wish you all the best as you begin this new journey — new house, new phase of life, and new literary ventures here online. Doesn’t sound very crone-like to me! 😉

  8. Jenny, Thanks! it’s weird. I am waiting for the shoe to drop…but perhaps all the pairs in the closet have dropped already. Thanks, happy… I am excited about all the newness. The online piece is a blast, so far!

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