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Stalked by the Empty Nest

Well, this is it, the moment we were all waiting for: The Day the Middle Child Moves Out.

My daughters have signed a lease on a little rental for the year of our Lord, 2019, and although I am rejoicing at this next step towards raising independent strong adults, I am also standing frozen in my closet, a blouse in each hand, traumatized at the realization that I will be the only female left in a house full of testosterone.

Ready or not, the winds of change are blowing and it’s going to take an industrial sized bottle of Febreeze to get me through.

2019 is therefore dedicated to opening some conversations. Maybe some hard ones. I need help with these feels and fuzzies. I am happy and sad and worried and proud and celebratory and lonely. My nest isn’t empty just yet. It’s ridiculous. I have a big pile of feels and nowhere to swoon.

The Forgetful Files to the rescue. Our motto is “Everything Worth Remembering” and with all of the change coming around the corner this January, we need to remember Rule Number One:

Remain Calm!

We are turning our blog into a type of forum on transitions and everyone is invited to participate in the Comment box.

Because, girlfriend therapy.

For January, let’s discuss moving house, whether across town, like my family did five years ago, or across the planet, as some of my crazy rellies have done.

Jan 6th: everyone else moving and leaving you in an empty nest
Jan 13th: moving from home to college
Jan 20th: moving from house to house
Jan 27th: moving from home to an elder care facility

I was mourning the loss of accessible auxiliary jewelry (not that I could find whatever I wanted in the drifts of her cyclone-decorated room, but the good stuff was usually on the top pile) when I heard my girls discussing their imminent move.

“You’re keeping your hair drier in your room,” said one, “I don’t need it and the bathroom is teeny tiny.”

“We need a bookshelf. That’s top of the list.”

“People have to take off their shoes in the house.”

“Yeah, and no dirty dishes left in the sink.”

It gives me great satisfaction to say, “I told you so.” Kid number three, she who will not be hangered, the Queen of Quite a Lot, the distributor of flotsam in every corner of the house, was preparing a Pre-Nup in tidy little lines.

Perspective is everything, and there is nothing like moving houses to find it.

Pro: Middle Child finally cares about tidiness.
Con: I will not have access to her cute shoes either. Argh.

Please share thoughts below on an emptying nest; they are uniquely yours, and – happily for the rest of us – universal.

Published inFamily FolliesLiving Larger


  1. Stacy

    Haha!!! So funny to read this and remember that I was once the object of an article you wrote on this very subject. I would solemnly affirm that this article conveys a much different tone and understanding than the one that referenced my experience.
    Love you Jolie

  2. Sarah Brown

    An IG quote from when my two moved out a year ago… “I went from random, sporadic crying fits yesterday to random, sporadic grinning today. What a rollercoaster of emotions this is.” Of course that didn’t last forever and just when I was used to the quiet house, they both moved back in! The only thing certain in life is change. Don’t get too worked up over any of it!

  3. LaDonna

    Jolie you are so right- there are scores of emotions swirling around you. You realize one chapter of your life is ending and a new one beginning. How did time fly by so quickly?!? But it does. You embrace the change and all the memories of when they were all young and at home. There will be new exciting milestones in their lives as well as your own. And my advice to all parents is to continue to pray without ceasing for our Children and Grandchildren. And may 2019 bring the much needed return of our Lord. ❤️

    • “Embracing” change may be the big answer to all of the questions I will toss in the blog this year. Isn’t it funny that one thing we can count on is “change” and humans universally struggle with it.

  4. Anonymous

    My 20 year old daughter moved out two weeks ago to a rental with a friend. The range of emotions is frightening. Be warned, all those with younger children they have bathed fed and counselled for the last twenty years. Your emerging adult will grow up, turn and wave and never give you a backward glance. They are absolutely heartless!

    • anonymous

      Absolute truth. I’ve come to realize that ‘the pain of childbirth’ refers to this, in reality: from the moment when the children you loved and cared for more than anything or anyone else in the world decide to walk away and put you at the very bottom of their priority list if you make the list at all.
      It’s the worst pain imaginable. Beyond description.

      • This, I can relate to. I recommend waiting with an open door. Just like childbirth, we are still fiercely loving them despite the pain. It may be years but sooner or later they come back around and when they do, I will be waiting with cookies and a hug. Maybe I’ll take up salsa dancing to pass the time.

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