Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer's Empty Nest

I have a confession to make.

My kids are away at camp, and I'm enjoying their absence.

The days before their departure were a flurry of activity...shopping, labeling, packing duffel bags, arranging logistics and watching their confidence and delight as they headed off.

And then they were gone, and the world was suddenly very, very quiet. A nice quiet. The relieved quiet of a job well done.

Summer's empty nest.

When my little boy was four years old, I sent him to day camp for the first time.

And I cried.

My brain knew that this was the best place for him to be at this stage of his life. But my heart felt that he was so young and vulnerable...that he still needed his home and the pampering that only a mother can give.

My brain understood that he would be reaching towards independence in a warm environment...that I must let go so he can develop fully. But my heart insisted that I can, and should, be a full part of that development.

My stomach was tied up in a knot of anxiety.

My baby was moving into the next huge phase of his life....without me.

I've come a long way since then.

Make no mistake. I'm crazy about my kids. I love having them around. I love the noise and the laughter...their contagious joy and love of life.

And I love sending them away.

I don't have that pit-of-the-stomach sadness that they're off for good, and I know I'm not ready for that.

I do, however, love the temporary break. I'm thrilled at not having to pick up after them, keep tabs on them and nag them to make their beds or put away their clothes. I'm looking forward to the slower pace...less laundry...less cooking...more time. For me.

I can take my time getting home from work. I can catch up with old friends. I can read the paper or do my nails. I can go for long walks or read some books.

Or I can just do nothing.

I will enjoy my summer with a more relaxed attitude and carefree mindset.

And I'll be ready for them when they come back home.


  1. You sound like my mother-in-law.
    Enjoy your holiday!

  2. Right there with you.

    Enjoy, especially since they're enjoying too.

  3. Nice!

    Glad to read your perspective. Mine is similar, but from a different angle. I love my wife. Love my kids. Yet, them being up in the country,me alone in the city all weeknights... I guess it's fair to admit that I like the quiet,the solitude. Yes, there are moments of raw loneliness, but I know it's only temporary, and I've grown confident and secure in knowing that liking the "alone" is no contradiction to love and devotion...

    Enjoy it! It's all over before you know it...

  4. Soul Comfort...

    Oh..good! I need some practice in sounding like a mother in law.

    Staying Afloat...

    They ARE enjoying..and I know this is the best thing for them. Makes me feel good that you can relate, cuz you sound like such a great mother.


    I love the solitude. And...here's a little secret...at the end of the summer, I'm never quite ready for them to come home. I'm thrilled when they're actually back...but I always want to hang on to that quiet just a little bit longer.

  5. a mother isn't less of a mother because she appreciates a break from her routine. and don't feel bad at all, the kids are not banished to isolation in a basement, they are also enjoying their vacation and break from routine and mommy. healthy for the whole family!
    are you getting pedicures, making suppers YOU like,going where you want when you want without explanations and company? and enjoying only doing laundry once a week?

  6. Confession? You're normal! You're a great mother!

    I guess your children aren't the homesick type? Otherwise, I imagine it would be torturous for you.

  7. BJG...

    Thank you.


    I'm doing all that..and enjoying it. A lot.


    They're not. They're as thrilled to go as I am to send them.