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From Empty Nest to Messy Nest

It’s funny how quickly things change. Take my sadness over my girls’ dual departures for boarding school and college last fall. We went from a bustling household of homework, free flowing snacks, and constant carpooling, to a quiet, empty—and tidy—house. For weeks, I fought off the tears, bemoaning how quickly it goes from crib to college But as an older friend told me, “You get used to it pretty fast. And, let me tell you, it’s not so bad.” She was right. It wasn't so bad.

Well, guess what? The chicks are back in the nest for the summer. And guess what? The nest is a mess. Perhaps it has been messier, but with the girls gone, clothes were actually put away—in actual drawers. Closed drawers.

Imagine walking into a room and seeing the drawers closed. Or closed cabinets. Yeah, I’m trying to imagine that.

“Peyton, please pick up your towels,” I say, as if on a loop.

“Katherine, please don’t leave your shoes in the kitchen.”

“Peyton, please put the dishes in the dishwasher,” I say, adding, “and close the dishwasher door.”

Page Evans
Page Evans

You’d think closing a dishwasher door would be as automatic as the dishwasher itself? Does something happen in college where students learn everything but how to close things? Or clean up after themselves?

Hmmm, I think I’ll get a snack and leave every kitchen cabinet open. I mean, you never know when I’ll need another pita chip. I might as well leave the door open for easy access.

Or, let’s bake chocolate chip cookies and leave at least four pans in the sink for Mom to scrub. She particularly loves the glass measuring cup with the congealed melted butter on the sides.

And then there are the clothes. My clothes—and shoes. Last week Peyton sent me a text about not being able to find shoes for work. When I told her she would most likely find her navy wedges under the wet towel she left on her bedroom floor, she texted an enthusiastic response: “Nevermind. Wearing your new ones. They are so comfortable!! I love them!! I’ve already gotten two compliments!!”

Good to know. I’m sure I will find out how comfortable my new shoes are when I get a chance to wear them.

Will I cry again when they leave in late August, leaving closed cabinets behind? Probably. After all, my house won’t be back to normal. It will just be clean.

It’s funny how quickly things change.