Beginning of the Empty Nest

removal men loading a vanWhen your first six children were fairly close in age, you might expect more than one to leave home at one time. It wasn’t even that simple for us. All three of our daughters decided to leave at the same time, taking an apartment together across the road from the long-term care centre where two of them worked. Or at least, that was the plan. When the time came, even that didn’t work out quite so simply.

Moving Day, April 2, 2007 — from Mom’s viewpoint…


I’m a bit distracted tonight because things are a little crazy around here. The girls took several trips to town this afternoon and evening, taking loads of small stuff with them to their new apartment. Which isn’t so new when you consider it was built in the 70’s. Carpet throughout. They were expecting Ian to come home in good time from work and accompany them so he could see the apartment, and Irene insisted I come too. But he didn’t get home till close to 8:00, having run some errands on the way home.

The girls couldn’t wait that long, so they took Andrew and went back around 7:00, to clean cupboards and put things away. The girls came back from their first trip there, telling stories of tacky closet covers, stained floors and dirty cupboards with brown sugar still in one of them. The painter was supposed to come today, but can’t make it till late next week. Too bad the girls can’t wait that long. They could of course, but they are already paying rent, and would have a problem with transportation to and from work if they stayed here.

I didn’t even know till the girls were getting ready to go, that they were actually starting to move in today. So it was kind of late in the day that I realized it was up to me to make supper. For how many? I figured the girls would be hungry whenever they got done, so planned supper for the whole family.

Since the girls were picking up some stuff from Irene’s coworkers who have very generously offered to help them out, they needed the muscle power of James and Andrew. That left only the two youngest boys at home with me.

When the older ones came back home, they said they had already eaten… and the younger boys had recently eaten a substantial snack. Honestly! The house could be burning down around me and I wouldn’t notice it sometimes. I realized too late that the little boys were eating.

So that left only Ian and me who would need any supper. But Ian got on the phone with his sister Eva and talked for well over an hour. Meanwhile supper was ready and untouched. Hamburger with homemade spaghetti sauce, over rice noodles, with spring salad and avocado/salsa dressing. It was delicious, but I ate alone. By the time he was done on the phone it was too late for him to eat without risking a sleepless night due to digestive distress.

The girls still don’t know when they are going to have a truck to move their bigger stuff. I have been going nuts today, trying to sort things out and hating every minute of it, because there is a REASON why anything not yet sorted out is not yet sorted out. I don’t know what to DO with it, that’s what. Tomorrow I have to take the bull by the horns and force myself to go through several huge stacks of miscellaneous stuff, and sort it or chuck it. I can’t just chuck it wholesale.

Maybe Andrew will be able to use some of it in his room when he moves downstairs. Depends on how much stuff Irene takes with her. It also depends on who we put where when the girls are gone. Because guess what? Irene informed me today that Vicki can’t actually live with them yet because she doesn’t have a job, and they won’t be able to afford to feed her till she does have one. Nor do they have a phone other than Irene’s cell phone, and so Vicki won’t be able to take calls for job interviews when the time comes. Which means she will still be LIVING here, not just that she will need a place to crash once in a while.

In my mind is this neat picture of James and Andrew in their own rooms in the basement, Timothy and Nathaniel sharing what is now Raewyn and Vicki’s room, using their bunkbeds that they are not taking with them… and Vicki in the boys’ room upstairs next to ours, using the boys’ bunkbed. The bed is along one wall and right now the boys’ eight-foot-long table/desk is on the opposite wall, with bookshelves up to the ceiling. We would take the desk and shelves out of there, along with another set of shelves and the two dressers, putting the girls’ one dresser in there, and in place of the desk, the massage table. We would also put in enough shelves for Raewyn’s books and herb samples. My idea is to set that bedroom up to double as a temporary bedroom for Vicki and a place to crash for Raewyn if needed, with the boys all living down in the basement.

But we have a number of problems, not the least of which is that the girls were planning to take their mattresses with them, and we need them here. Andrew and Timothy are sleeping on the “mattresses” the girls had before we moved here four years ago… which are narrow, thin foamies. Supposed to be four inches thick, but you know what happens to foamies after much wear… very thin.

Ian and I were talking tonight and decided we need the mattresses here more than the girls need them there, for several reasons.

  1. If they or even one of them is going to be living in both places, she needs a mattress here.
  2. The boys need those mattresses.
  3. The girls will be able to afford to buy mattresses soon, and will be in a position to have them delivered to their apartment by the store, whereas we, being out in the country, are not.
  4. They won’t be sleeping in a bedroom with a bare cement floor.

I feel very much in upheaval right now.

© Willena Flewelling


  1. Hi Willena.

    I know I would equally be having a hard time with such things. I haven’t had to deal with an “empty nest” yet, but I will soon.

    Also, I don’t think anything ever goes neatly or according to plan, does it? So I can relate to how you feel everything is in upheaval now. Seems like aspects of my life. Hopefully some peace and calm will enter soon. 🙂

    Karen Peltier recently posted…How to Make Your Own All-Natural Spa Bath Salts (A Great Gift Idea!)My Profile

  2. Karen, I really should not complain. My oldest was 16 when my youngest was born… she and my oldest son were both 24 or 25 when they left home… our 2 now-early-20s sons still come home from the city almost every weekend… and at age 62, I still have a 15-year-old at home!

    I can’t see him staying home till he’s 25, since he has his pick of older brothers and sisters to move in with if all are agreeable. But I guess no matter how old or young you are when your nest is empty, it’s still a big adjustment.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Hanabi ReiMy Profile

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