Preparing for the Empty Nest


It’s hard to let go.  Last week, while I was working on the computer, and our last little Hecklette (now a senior in high school) was playing the theme song from Forrest Gump on the piano, I received an email from the college counselor for an event at my daughter’s school titled “Leaving Home.” Instant waterworks.  (Here’s a link to the song so you can play it in the background, too.)  I have since asked the college counselor to rename the event to something like “See Ya Later,” or “Running A Quick Errand to College.”  And, I have asked Margaret to try something perkier on the piano like “What a Wonderful World,” …. no that won‘t work. Maybe “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” or, this is good: “Hakuna Matata.” No, actually that makes me remember when she was a cute little six-year-old (five minutes ago).  Maybe no piano until after May.

So, tonight was the night for the “Leaving H___” event, and I am just reporting that I made it through with only two disintegrated napkins … I forgot my tissue, so I had to use those crumbly brown napkins from Chipotle, where we had just grabbed dinner with said senior.

Although it was so very bittersweet, I loved this event.  This was my third time, so I was prepared with those brown napkins.  After we arrived and listened to a brief reminder of why we were all acting so weird during these last few months (students and parents), the parents were separated from the students to answer the same set of questions anonymously.  Then, we all came back together to listen to the answers.  Most of the answers were so heartfelt, that I could barely hold it together, but fortunately, some of the answers to the questions were lighter, which was handy for pulling oneself together before totally embarrassing one’s child.  “I hope that my bedroom is transformed into a shrine after I am gone.” or “New laptop, Mom?“ or “Dad, it was me who took the key to the liquor cabinet that time.”

My favorite part was at the end, when the teachers took turns reading the parents’ answers and the students’ answers (which had been written anonymously on folded paper) to this one question: “What is one thing you would like to say to your children/your parents before you leave?”  (uh oh, where are my brown napkins?)  The words that were repeated over and over in every way imaginable, whether parent or child, boy or girl, athlete or artist, were these, “I am proud of you.” “I will miss you.” “I love you.”

And, if ever you are worried that our newest citizens of the world are self-centered or egotistical or just plain rude, don’t worry … the other words that were repeated over and over from the seniors were these: “Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

I left believing that the class of 2011 will make a very nice set of grown-ups.  And, that I better invest in a box of kleenex to have handy at all times, because these recycled brown napkins just arent’ going to cut it for the next few months!


  1. Ellen Heck January 14, 2011

    Hang in there, Mom… :)

  2. Shari January 14, 2011

    Yes, hang in there. I have 2 more years to go and it is already getting a little scary!

  3. Muv January 14, 2011

    I used two napkins from Sonic just reading the post!

  4. MMC January 24, 2011

    If winter comes, can spring be far behind? Here’s to future good surprises.

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