At 9am this past Saturday morning, my Daughter and her four closest friends were on a plane to the Caribbean. Making me the proud owner of a temporary empty nest.

Spring Break. Woo Hoo.

So how did out temporary empty nest start out? Well, after I put my daughter into a car at 5:45, I went back to sleep for an hourish. Yes, I like an early start to the day. But having gotten up at 5 to talk to my daughter as she got ready was even pushing it for me.

Then I read the paper.

I went to the gym.

Then we went to an exhibit. Kim- this will be of interest to you: The Morgan Library in New York is doing a Tolkien exhibit- drawings, letters, family photos. Very cool, and very crowded exhibit. And they are doing a themed lunch! So my husband and I split Shire food- eggs not broken, peppered beef, twice baked honey cafes, mead. I am a lover of cider so I became a big fan of mead. I’m looking forward to walking into a bar and asking for a tankard of their finest mead…..

When we were done, it was 3pm. My Husband looked at me and said: “What do you want do to do now?”

And so begins the tale of what our life will be like in August.

I said that I would be perfectly happy going home, reading, maybe find something to watch on TV. Chilling out. Husband asked- “Do you want to go out tonight?” And I could think of no compelling reason to go out. I knew I wasn’t going to be that hungry for dinner. There were no movies that both my Husband and I would enjoy. I didn’t want to go out for the sake of going out…

But what do empty nesters do at night?

I normally go out one night, maybe two a week. My Husband is often out more. He’s not a stay at home sort of person. And back in the day, I used to go out most nights. I used to like it.


I realized that part of the reason I don’t go out at night is because I have had a kid in the house. But part of the reason is that I just don’t want to go out at night all that often. I like reading. I like writing. I learned how to embroider this year and it’s pretty fun.  But is this going to be enough to keep me occupied for the rest of my life?

So we stayed home Saturday night. I made a simple and light dinner. We watched a silly murder mystery show on TV. And it was fine.

But will it be enough?

81 thoughts on “Tempty Nesting: The Beginning

  1. The Tolkien Exhibit…. My jealousy levels are high right now….

    I am sure you will find something to do that does more than simply keep you occupied once your daughter goes off to college. My own parents developed all sorts of new hobbies and relationships once they became empty nesters, and none of it really seems to be just to pass the time.

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  2. I think there needs to be a mix. We have tended to lean toward the “chill out at home” side of things sine we became empty nesters in August. I think we need to go out a little more. It gets old after a while. You need to mix it up a little. My wife still wants to wait for the kids to be available to do things. That’s nice, but I would like to go out a little on the weekends when they aren’t available.

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    1. I think my husband is going to feel bad not waiting for my daughter for things. He’s bummed that she’s not seeing The Avengers with us next week and technically she’s still home


  3. The year our youngest daughter was a senior in high school my husband bought me a motorcycle. I’d had one before we had kids, but put the bike aside while I was raising children. We started taking small weekend trips on the bikes, and we ended up becoming a part of a national group of motorcyclists in our age group. I didn’t realize that he’d had the specific goal of giving us a couple focused activity until we were talking late one night about friends and family members who’d divorced after their kids left home. He wanted us to have a bonding experience to keep us talking and active through the transition. It worked. And I’m not suggesting you get a motorcycle! 😳 But you two might want to discover a joint hobby that’ll make you want to do new stuff together. Dance lessons? Cooking lessons?

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      1. You will figure it out, but it really does take time. Second semester freshman year was worse for me than first. I was a mess. You need things to fill the void, and you will find them.

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  4. You’ll likely find your rhythm once August comes and the wide open life becomes normal. Perhaps try not to overthink it, perhaps let things come and go as they may?? After 6 years of taking care of the granddaughters my job with them ended not long ago and now my weekdays are entirely free. I immediately decided that I had to find things to do, wondered what I would do, felt guilty even for doing nothing at all. I decided not to be so driven to “do” and just let life happen. The doors will open, discovery will happen and you and the husband will figure out what works for both of you.

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  5. It takes time to transition, but you will find that you enjoy the empty nester situation – and you’ll even enjoy it more when your daughter returns for holidays! It will be such a celebration when she comes home ‘to visit’ so don’t worry. 🙂

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    1. I adore it when my kids come home! It brightens up my home and we love those times – they do too! Fixing their favorites, just hanging out watching a movie and reconnecting! They appreciate us even more I think after they’ve been away at college!

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  6. Good idea to “practice” for the empty nest. I thought about the pending life change a great deal before our son left for college six years ago, and wrote about it a lot. My husband did not “prepare,” and I think the transition was much more of a rude shock for him.

    Not long after our son went away to college a former co-worker asked me, “Are you dating?” I was mystified. Did she think we’d gotten divorced? My face must have registered my confusion because then she explained that she meant “date nights.” No, I said.

    I did, however, change the table setting, switching my place to the other side. A small gesture, but it comforted me somehow because it made the “empty” place at the table just slightly less jarring.

    All the best to you and your daughter in this poignant and wonderful time of life.

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  7. John and I drifted into retirement with no specific plans. We were interested in lots of things, so we didn’t worry about it. We should have! We are constantly running out of time to get done the things we enjoy.

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  8. One thing we do is take long drives. Visit a nearby city, see something we haven’t noticed before, eat at a local restaurant, etc. Plan out a destination! Or, stay home and Netflix. It’s all good as long as you are enjoying it!

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  9. Perhaps it’s a thing that will evolve…there will be times when you’re all about the going out, and then a period of downtime and rest will ensue…

    I have no idea what to expect but I’m a little bit behind you in those terms.

    Who knows though, you may find a whole new arch of activities that interest you. Like, maybe you’ll get to meet some bloggers… 🙂

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  10. I almost felt like we were dating again when ours left the house. There was definitely a new sense of freedom for me at least as I didn’t have to worry about what the kids were going to do, eat, or who was going to “watch” them. We made spontaneous plans and didn’t have to let anyone know where we were going. I can see the problem with someone who wants to go out and someone who wants to stay home though. I don’t know how close you are to the Brooklyn Art Gallery but you could take a trip there and see the Sketchbooks I submitted 🙂

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      1. Yes, Library not Gallery. It’s the one on Frost Street in Brooklyn. I have two Sketchbooks there. One is called “A Smile 4 U From Janet” – #S174409. It is about the people I wish I knew. The other I just submitted called “Let the Adventure Begin” – #S218247 and is about City Streets. There are a TON of other sketchbooks there under the Sketchbook Project. It is free to visit and it holds art projects from all over the world.

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  11. what do I do at night? whatever I feel like doing. just keep working out cuz you’ve still got it going on. I know you’ll quickly learn and be even better than you are right now. 😉

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  12. I have been to the Morgan Library. That sounds lovely: the Tolkien exhibit. Staying in is fine with a great book and your husband and a glass of wine. I always felt the need to go out more when I lived in cities including New York and Abu Dhabi. I often felt like everyone around me was out having fun but with a partner, I don’t always find the need now. I enjoy my house and my time.

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  13. I’m grateful for the fact that both Hubby and I are pretty much hermits so this isn’t going to be much of an issue outside of the few times we do actually want to go out and grab dinner or a movie or something. I really don’t see things being all that different from now when we either do our own thing: me reading, him watching something sports related. The biggest difference, and the thing I’m so not looking forward to, are the nights when one or both of the kids are in the mood to just sit and chat with us. I love those times and I can only hope they keep this up via phone when they are finally out of the house.

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    1. I love talking to my daughter, but yeah, I think it will be difficult to have that same conversational quality with her. It all changes. She’s away, and we had a short text conversation today, but I know she’s having fun

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      1. We still have another year and a half before MC is off, but there is still a slim chance he will go close to home, so I don’t know if I am happy about that or sad.

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  14. My empty nest experience was very different because I was not married, moved at the same time because I couldn’t and didn’t want to live in the big suburban house anymore, and was working endless hours. All that being said, I needed to create a new normal. It’s a wonderful challenge and also an opportunity to add things you want to do and also trim away things you don’t want to do anymore.

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      1. I used to bring this huge thermos of hot tea. Problem was, we call it guerilla style, and there were no facilities for bathroom. Softball we had ports potties but nigh)no fir soccer

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  15. I think you are a parent for life. And while your kids may be gone you will find a new rhythm. Travel! Travel might be something great. Also keeping your home open for opportunities to welcome the birds back into the nest! xo

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  16. These transitions are difficult and need some thought and planning. Another one is when you and your partner are both retired and in each other’s company 90% of the time. Irritations creep in and boredom and you have to think about that and how you feel about it. Hope you find your empty nester mojo! 😄

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  17. Don’t overthink it. Remember with kids not at home it becomes a choice to go out. We go out on the spur of the moment or for an occasion so now we can be a bit more spontaneous. I am normally a planner but this has helped loosen me up a bit, my husband will call on the way home to see if I want to go out and if I feel like it we will, before we had to plan and even if we didn’t really want to go we did because we didn’t want to waste the opportunity. Now opportunities abound and we take advantage when we feel like it and not apologize if we feel like hanging out at home. Enjoy the choice.

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  18. Both my daughters left home for careers interstate. It took no time at all to relish being an empty nester and to at long last fully develop as “me”, and not as “Mum”. Our relationships are even better with distance. We have “girlie” weekends together and spoil each other when we catch up. Fun little parcels are shared my mail. And I’m still privy to their confidences.
    Don’t sweat it, LA. It will all fall into place.

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