Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Anyone who has the empty nest will understand; sometimes it's great...the quiet, the freedom, the time you never had before.  Other times, it's unbearable...the lack of purpose, the endless hours that are suddenly yours to fill, the quiet.  Sometimes that quiet is a warm embrace.  Other times, it's deafening, cloying, unrelenting.

Jessica came home with 2 friends for part of her spring break.  I was warned of piles of laundry, the absolute need for home-cooked meals, for sleep, for time to sprawl out on the couch and just decompress. Within the first few minutes of their presence, there was a tsunami of suitcases, bags and shoes.  Suddenly, our empty nest was full again.  I shopped for a houseful. We made all our  specialties for breakfasts and dinners. I did piles of laundry.

Their days were full of fun, as they went to the beach, shopped at the mall, hiked up our hill, (unashamedly reenacting Lord of The Rings on their journey)! And when they were home, they sprawled.  They sprawled on the couch, on each other.  We have big couches, yet the three of them would stay connected on one cushion, always intertwined. They'd braid each others' hair. Massage sore limbs, and just nestle contentedly like a family of newborn puppies, watching movies, talking, hanging out, laughing.  And how they laughed; at texts, at online posts, at stories. Their presence, their giggles, their beauty filled our lives for 5 days.

And I watched them, longingly, remembering.  The joy in their eyes. The fluidity of their movements. The grace they don't even realize they have. The laughter that freely flows, illuminating their beautiful faces. And for a time, I envied their future...filled with those unknowns, with wondering and with such promise.  Of the road they have ahead of them. Memories to make, lives to live, stories to write.  And I felt appreciated again.  They graciously extended their hugs and their time and their joy to me.  They let me into their wonderful, wondrous world for a time and the years faded away, and I was 18 again.  We sat and talked at the dinner table long after the food was gone.  We watched chick flicks with them. We laughed at their college experiences as we recalled our own.  And we slept contentedly, knowing our house was once again, if only for a short while, full.  And I, for one, relished the opportunity to be a mom again, to three very appreciative young women. 

Today they'll leave for the rest of their spring break, to Jess's friend's sister's place at the University of San Diego. They'll go back to taking care of themselves, and being college girls again.  They'll lay on the beach during the day, go out at night, and have spring-break fun...hopefully not TOO much fun!!

They left, thanking me for taking care of them for a few days.  For making them home cooked meals, doing laundry, giving them a comfortable home and being parents to them.  What they don't realize...what they can't realize, is that they were a gift to me.  I thank them.  For their presence, their light, laughter and love.

Of course, I'm also thankful that I'm actually NOT 18...and I'm glad it's not me who has to go back to classes, showering in flip flops, college food and noisy freshman dorms!  There are some parts of being young that I don't miss at all!!

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