I can now join the ranks of empty nesters. However, I can’t say I come from a long line of empty nesters, as I am the first of my brother and sisters to experience this phenomenon.
I’ve been an empty nester now for about 30 hours.
See, yesterday Dave and I drove my youngest son to his new home, our alma mater, to join the ranks of other Faour and Jones family members who have been or are, students of St Francis Xavier University. I went to St FX, so did two of my sisters, my brother, three of his children, my husband and also his daughter and brother. We have all studied at X.
I don’t think Aaron had any idea what he was in for! On the way to Antigonish NS, we stopped at a Timmies for some breakfast. There was an incredibly long line up, which surprised me, given the hour. Aaron was surprised to discover that everyone in the line up, bar none, was St FX bound. Some had on X t-shirts, parents included, and excitement reigned, even at that ungodly hour. Us old folk flashed X rings.
When we arrived in Antigonish there were signs directing us to X. Not that you could have missed it- the Frosh Welcoming Committee were there waving signs, singing and dancing everywhere. They were dressed in neon brights: hot pink, fluo orange, neon green, gaudy yellow.
Hello? Times have certainly changed; I don’t remember any of this exuberant welcome when I arrived at St FX back in 1971.
Aaron started to brighten up. A big grin spread across his face. We got him into his room, met his roommate, a nice guy from New Brunswick. The guy next door to him is from Dubai. Interesting. Then the long line up for photo ID, business department and other necessary details. Aaron showed me a text from one of his friends who was still on the way there with her parents. Apparently her mom was crying because her baby was leaving home. Actually there were many moms crying. Not me. Aaron told me he was glad I wasn’t carrying on like that. Well.
My son was growing in stature and confidence right before my very eyes. Speaking of eyes, his were sparkling, and the excitement was palpable. I was just so darned happy for him. How could I be thinking of the ‘empty nest’ I was going home to?
All too soon the tasks of getting him 100% in were done. There was nothing left to do but to say goodbye, don’t forget to brush your teeth, make your bed, be good, call home, study hard, I love you. Hugs all around and then Dave and I were leaving.
Empty nest? Nah.
We got home several hours later and the house seemed so empty. Hell, it was empty. Not that Aaron ever took up much space in the house, just that now there would be just Dave and I.
It seemed really empty.
I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. Then this morning I told Dave I couldn’t go downstairs for awhile because I was going to lose it. The downstairs was Aaron’s, and now he and everything connected with him was residing at MacNeil House at St FX.
I miss my son, not because he’s gone to university, but because he will never live at home again. He has left the nest, and so that makes for major changes in his life and also in mine.
This is the first time in twenty-seven years that I don’t have children living at home, and that feels just plain strange…