It’s been a strange last few weeks for me. I think someone wrote a book decades ago called “Passages” – and this is one for Kate and me. For we are now what is referred to as empty nesters. I helped Madeline move into a new apartment two weeks ago. That wasn’t such a change – she lived in Madison this summer, though she was home quite a bit. Or was she? She was in St. Paul, which I hope and think she still thinks of as home. But in some real ways Madison is her home too.
Then a week ago we took Peter to Iowa City as his college career began. I love both Iowa City and Peter (not in that order), and I’m excited for him to get on with what should be a great time of life. I think college will be a great experience for him, as it has been for Madeline. And as it was for me. Still, it was a strange moment when he was moved into his dorm. There is so much you want to say, and so little you can say. You want to help the right amount, while acknowledging that he really doesn’t need much help.
So Kate and I headed off down the road as empty nesters. In one sense, Peter had failed to do his job. College bound kids are supposed to foul the nest. To be so obnoxious during the summer before college that their parents can’t wait to be rid of them. Yet he has been particularly pleasant this summer. Sure, he was slow to write thank you notes for graduation gifts. But the ones he wrote were well written, and in the end they did get written. Maybe not on the schedule a 53 year old would choose, but on an appropriate schedule for an18 year old. Most nights he got home in the wee hours. But he frequently stopped by the house during the hours I was awake. And he’d sit down and watch the Twins and b.s. with me. Or go to a movie. More often than usual. Maybe that was his way, and mine, of saying something.
Anyway, it was hard to say goodbye when we left. Still, I’m looking forward to life as an empty nester. Kate and I will find lots of fun and joy and laughter. And we’ll welcome our “fledged” children back to the nest for visits and summers any time.
And speaking of fouled nests, we arrived at the cabin last night to find that what Peter had failed to do at 2134 Carroll, nature had done at Cranberry Lake. There was a huge storm here in mid-July. Blew down a couple of trees in inopportune spots. That is no problem. An opportunity to use a chain saw to create wood for the sauna. However, the wind blew the shingles off of about half of the roof of our bedroom. And every rainstorm since, including the one yesterday, has saturated the walls, ceiling and floor.
Oh the smell of mold. Still, we can shut the door to our bedroom and sleep in the “screen house.” Cause there are only two of us.