An Empty Nest
The nest just emptied. A new phase begins. Where to start? What to do?
I remember so clearly that first day we filled the nest. The baby bird came home from the hospital. The nest felt just right. I thought we had simply added a new family member, but instead I learned we had changed our entire way of life.
That first morning after bringing home the baby bird I walked into the kitchen to make some coffee, sit down to eat my breakfast and read the paper. None of that happened. The baby birdís demands were instant and constant. Little has been calm and quiet since.
The job of parenting required skills I didnít seem to have. These skills were not easily acquired. I certainly tried...most of the time. I certainly improved...most of the time. And I had the most amazing fun...most of the time. There were times when my biggest fear was harming the baby birds, but they left the nest unharmed...at least physically.
Raising two birds was exhausting, heartwarming, frustrating, surprising, challenging, fun and rewarding. We did our job as parents (some of us more than others). The birds are now fully grown with strong wings, sharp beaks and ample lungs. They both fly (some figuratively some literally) and can fend for themselves. They didnít turn out exactly as we planned, but they turned out exactly as they planned.
Weíre so proud of our birds. They are so capable...so independent. That was our job, thatís every parentís mission. Iím glowing in my parental success and yet left a little sad that we are less needed, less involved, and less constant in their lives. We will miss the birds.
But now itís time for the parents to move on. Bring back the coffee. Bring back the breakfast. Bring back the newspaper. Today is the first day of the life put on hold all those years ago. Today is a day where priorities shift. Today we start to think about reward, renewal, and reinvention. Itís a time when we can come first. But where to start? Whatís first? The list is so long. So overwhelming. I feel as unprepared for this empty nest phase as I was for the phase that filled the nest.
I started by taking a small bird step. I cleaned my sock drawer. It is very organized and now closes with ease. I feel a sense of accomplishment. It feels good. I can do this.
The nest is now empty.
September 17, 2014
© Greg Harris, 2014
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