Empty Nest at 40 Something

Easter morning journal

I am sure I am not alone in being alone. And deep down it has been that way for a long time. Watching my kids grow up was the closest I ever felt to not being alone, but now they are adults themselves.

This is the first Easter dinner that I won’t spend with my oldest. His girlfriend has a large family and he is going to spend today with them this year. My daughter will spend the majority of her day in her room, but we will have a slow simmer red sauce and meatballs since she doesn’t eat holiday foods anyway. But, she likes pasta and since he does not, we can take advantage. He will stop by late to say hi, and I saw him for dinner yesterday, too. So, it all worked out for the best.

But I have never had to share my kids before, never spent a holiday without both of them sitting at the table with me. I knew it was coming, but didn’t prepare. Is there ever a prep for this kind of thing?

Do you sit with it and feel it? And how do you not let it suck you into its depths — instead, let it flow out of you? It is a good thing, watching them grow and leave the nest.

The reality is that everyone moves on. I finally moved on from the people who raised me, the odd family that I grew up with. I am no longer able to deal with their negative view of me. We only saw each other on Christmas the last few years, and then the pandemic started a new tradition of not going at all. I have chosen to continue that. Because I decided that I am no longer obligated to the family that hurt me. They are a story for a different day though.

Selfishly, I think about where this all leaves me. One day the kids will not come around. I hope they find partners with big families that take them in. Give them the world of extended families that I was never able to find for myself and give to them. Maybe we will visit the day before or after and I will find somewhere to volunteer, then sit alone in my quiet house, probably typing.

I have been single for two years. I am no longer tied to someone emotionally unavailable, no more feeling alone standing next to him. Of course I want connection, but I have met many people and from what I have experienced, I will be single indefinitely. I’m not convinced there is someone out there for me– not in this lifetime, that is. That is a story for a different day, too.

So now my nest empties slowly, and I struggle to replace the missing people in my life. Social media and the constant barrage of pictures of happy families that remind me that I am not part of that and it stings.

Photo by Landon Martin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.