Empty Nest

It’s been a long time since our chicks have flown the nest.  Now, one of ours has seen her own chick fly away – to the USAF.  Our grandson was ready to leave the nest, so he signed up and is now winging his way to boot camp in Texas.  I thought my daughter would be a puddle of tears. I could imagine her wandering the house, wailing.  Well, she’s having her tearful times, but she inherited the practical gene passed down through both sides of the family.  Our grandson’s room has been cleared, walls spackled and a second coat of paint may soon go over the first.  She and hubby are moving in desks and have taken possession of the room as their office.

There are years when bringing up babies that you can’t wait for them to grow up and leave.  It feels like forever.  I remember the celebration when Rick rolled out the last trash can with dirty diapers in it.  Yeah!!  Then they learn to ride a bike.  They go to preschool, grade school, high school.  They become teenagers.  Aye-ya-yay.

My mother used to tell me “these times pass so quickly… enjoy every minute.”  She was referring to times when I wanted to throttle my three wild ones or put them in cuffs.  She’d smile.  “You’ll look back and wonder where the time went.”  I probably rolled my eyes, but she was right.  I blinked and they were grown, blinked again and they had flown.  I’m thankful my chicks (now a hen and two roosters) are within driving distance, rather than scattered across the country and around the world.

No, I won’t whine.

I imagine what my grandmother’s mother felt when her daughter left Switzerland at fifteen, heading off on her own to France, then England, Canada and settling in America.  She never saw her daughter again, or met her son-in-law or four grandchildren. I think about how Rick’s great-grandmother must have felt when his grandma left Sweden at eighteen, crossed the Pacific, arrived at Ellis Island and took a train across America to start a new life in San Diego. She married a Swedish sailor, had three children and made it home for a family visit, but her mother had passed on by then. My grandmother didn’t make it back to Switzerland until she was 84.

We have it easier now.  We don’t have to wait for letters and a few precious pictures protected for a lifetime.  We now have iPhones with cameras.  We can text messages, be on Facetime and Skype.  And if we don’t hear anything, there’s still that nice little GPS to track movement.  He made it.  He’s alive.  Hey, with Google earth, we might even be able to see him in formation.  (not really!)