Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome

I am now a full-fledged, bona fide empty nester. But, in truth, there has been a lot of coming and going in my "nest" through the years.

My daughter, Jayme, was the first to leave, heading off to WVU in 2004. She hated how big and impersonal WVU was and ended up returning to Wheeling six months later. For the next three and a half years, she lived with us again and commuted to West Liberty University, where she completed a nursing degree. Then she got married and became the first one to fully and finally leave the nest.

Meanwhile my other daughter, Stacey, left for college. Unlike Jayme, Stacey found WVU to be a good fit. Stacey came home often on weekends and during the summer so it didn't seem like she had quite parted ways with the nest. Then she graduated and began working fulltime in Morgantown.

But even with both of my children gone the nest wasn't quite empty. My nephew, Bryan, was accepted to the respiratory therapy program at Northern Community College so he moved from Elkins to Wheeling and began living with us. Bryan's clinicals and course work were time-consuming, but when he wasn't busy with school he was hanging out with us--working, playing and watching a lot of television together.

In May of this year, however, two things have happened that will forever change my nesting situation. First, Bryan graduated and returned home to Elkins. Now he'll take his boards and go through the grueling process of applying for a job. Second, Stacey got married. To be honest, the excitement of the wedding is still in the air. But reality is already beginning to sink in--my nest is truly empty.

My wife, Brenda, and I have noticed that the house seems a little bigger now than it did. And a little more quiet. Too quiet, if you ask me. No laughing or talking in the background. No footsteps. No signs of life. Just the two of us trying to cope with our big, empty house. We have great memories and both of our children live nearby so the transition hasn't been too abrupt. But it's still a transition, and day-by-day we're adjusting to the new reality in our nest. Jayme, Stacey and Bryan have all turned a new page in their life story. With God's help, so will we...

Maybe you have an empty nest story of your own, or maybe you have a word of wisdom to lift the spirits of an empty nester like me. Feel free to share!