Tag Archive | Empty Nest

Empty Nesters Still Nest

“May I help you find something?” the saleslady asked.

“Yes, do you have any Lazy Susans?” It was my first time in a long time shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had been to this store a very long time ago and decided that I should stay away from it then because I thought it was expensive and frivolous. That was back when I was a stay-at-home mom. Now I am practically an empty nester.

“I think we have some over here.” I followed her over to all the kitchen gadgets. “What will you be using it for?”

“To organize vitamins and aspirin in my cupboard,” I said. I thought back to the day when my daughter, Katie, told me that I should really organize “that cupboard.” I felt like I looked at her funny when she told me that because she is not always so very organized.

“They are called turntables now,” the saleslady told me with a swift turn of her head as she looked back at me.

“Oh.” I was happy she told me this because I didn’t want to go around saying Lazy Susan all the time if I wasn’t using a popular term and not being up-to-date. Some Susan somewhere must have started a movement against derogatory name calling on behalf of herself and her fellow Susans. Obviously, I didn’t hear about the revolution.

“I ask because we have several types of turntables. I think this one here will best suit your needs. The other types of turntables that we have are wooden and very large.”

The plastic turntables were stacked on a shelf and came in two different sizes. There was a larger single-shelf turntable and a smaller one with two shelves. I wondered out loud if there was a larger double-shelf turntable.

“I will go check our stockroom,” she said. I hadn’t seen such great customer service for a while and I was definitely impressed.

I wandered over to the wall that contained all sorts of utensils. My friend, April, told me about her pineapple corer, and I found one and put it my basket. A bright yellow banana saver screamed “Buy me, buy me.” I don’t know how I managed to live without these items for so long!

“I couldn’t find the larger type with two shelves,” the friendly lady reported back to me.

“Thank you for looking. I think the smaller one will work just fine.”

I found a nice cotton blanket on clearance and headed for the cash register. The cashier greeted me as if we were long-lost friends! While heading for the exit, I spied a wire shelving unit that looked like it would fit under the bathroom sink and help us find things easily. I knew I would be back soon.

When I got home, I piled up old medications in a bag to toss at the local pharmacy and found a new home for my Lazy Susan turntable. Every morning I turn the table and easily find my daily vitamin and fish oil that will hopefully help me remember to say turntable, not Lazy Susan.

The next week when I was in the checkout line at Marshall’s, sitting there, just for me, was a double-shelf turntable. I picked it up and bought it with my new socks. The moment I got home, I organized the shelf that holds the peanut butters, oils, vinegars and honey.

Since the two youngest kids left for college, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning. This is good because when you clean you might find your kid’s old forgotten bag of Halloween candy sticking to a shelf and wonder how long it’s been sticking there! You also might forget about wondering why your kid is not always so organized.

Empty nesters still nest, but I didn’t think I’d be emptying the house this way!

Babies of the Family

I guess I really didn’t get what the big deal was about being the baby of the family until we had to send our own Baby of the Family off. Ever since I can remember and even after I grew taller than Mom, she always referred to me as “Her Baby” or “Our Baby” or “The Baby of the Family.” Mom liked saying all those phrases with a laugh after I grew to be taller than her.

My Mom's Baby of the Family

My Mom’s Baby of the Family

When I was very small I thought, “I am not a baby. I wish she would stop calling me that.” In my mind, I balled up my fists and stomped. In real life, I just took it and smiled because I sort of got a lot of attention from those phrases. I guess it bothered me enough though that I decided I wouldn’t call my youngest child “The Baby of the Family” or “Our Baby” or “My Baby,” until now because My Baby started his first day of college the other day.

My Baby and Me

My Baby and Me

A few days before we left to drop Matt off, Laura said, “Mom, why are you so worried? Matt is probably the most independent one in the family. He’s even more independent that you are.” It was true. I guess I was just worried about how I was going to handle moving the youngest one out of the nest, and I knew it would be a tough day for me. One would think that I would be used to sending kids off to college by now, but I’m not. That feeling of missing them when they’re gone doesn’t go away.

The Babies All Together!

Our Babies All Together!

Since Mike and I helped Matt move in on a Saturday, and because it’s such a long drive home, Mike announced that we should really get a move on early Sunday morning. I agreed and realized then that my hug with Matt the Saturday night before was my good-bye hug. As we drove away from town and kept getting farther away from My Baby, I couldn’t help but sniffle. Memories of favorite days spent with Matt when he was just a little kid started to pop into my mind.

Matt and I used to like to hang out by the bridge by our house. Back then, I decided I would sit and watch as long as Matt wanted me to no matter how long it took, and I always was ready to sit on the bridge even if we had just done that same thing the day before. The trees towered high over the water, and it was like we had our own little fort just for us. Matt searched for handfuls of rocks on the side of the creek, and he threw rock after rock into the water just to see how far away it would land and what kind of splash it would make. We would comment on which were the “good ones” by how big the splash was. I knew that the next year when Matt would be in kindergarten that he probably wouldn’t want to throw rocks in the creek with his Mom just to see what kind of splash they make, and I was right.

Plus Our Baby was the last one of our kids that Dad and I got to share and teach childhood things to. You know, some things like how to:

• tie shoes;
• ride a bike;
• put on and tie skates;
• roller skate and ice skate;
• float and swim;
• hold hands while crossing the street or just because it felt nice and secure;
• remain calm during thunderstorms by giving hugs;
• listen to bedtime stories; and
• say bedtime prayers.

After we got home, I wrote out a grocery list for the coming week. I tried to stop those sniffles from coming back as I realized I wouldn’t have to buy Gatorade, frozen pizzas and Oreos for a little while. I wandered up to see the state of Matt’s bedroom with vacuum cleaner in hand. His room looked pretty bare and as if he took almost all of his possessions with him. I briefly noticed a white, plastic Target bag on his bookshelf and thought it must be some sort of trash, but when I got a text from Matt later that day, he said that there was a bag on his bookshelf, and that it was a present for me and Dad.

I retrieved the bag, searched for Dad, and we opened it together. A card was on top, and the first sentence started by saying, “Thanks for all your love and support.” More tears had to be wiped away as I realized Babies of the Family do grow up. My Mom’s endearing phrase stuck with me that day, and I finally figured out that it’s not so bad being called the Baby of the Family after all.