Empty Nesters at Thanksgiving

My husband and I are parents of young adult university students. They are each very different, and some more independent or seemingly removed than others. We are proud of all of our children, although sometimes perplexed! We call ourselves empty nesters, but truly we aren’t. Our oldest commutes to university and his part time job, but he is rarely at home during waking hours for us. Our youngest is at university a half an hour away, and will visit and stay over periodically. We call him “the hotel guest”.

When we meet other parents of similarly aged children, they will invariably say – “They come back you know”. This is always followed by a nervous chortle. That’s OK, we say – but this is likely because we are still missing our children. We are proud of our children’s progress, but their distance still hurts us.

Our middle 2 children both live the farthest away, and are both very busy with school, work and sports. One, we hear from the least often, and resort to checking her Instagram to make sure everything is OK. The other, equally busy can be counted on to check in daily for a video chat. Thank goodness for Facebook Video Messaging and Skype.

This Thanksgiving weekend we were happy to have 2 boys at home (and all this week for their reading weeks), a surprise 2 day visit from our daughter, and a laptop linking our video-chatting son was placed at the Thanksgiving dinner table. It was lovely having one of our son’s longterm girlfriend join us for dinner. It was also sad that one of our boys broke up with his girlfriend just prior to Thanksgiving, so she was not able to join us.

This break-up reminds me of how supportive my 91 year old mother has been during my youth before marriage, and during my 27 year marriage. I know that she also got attached to some of her childrens’ friends before we married our spouses – but she never blinked an eye and accepted the changes and our choices. I know that this will be a difficult challenge for my husband and I over the next few years as our kids choose partners and settle down – but I’m grateful for the opportunity – and I accept this challenge. Thank you mom, thank you family. Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. I posted a few vegan recipes that we used at Thanksgiving at http://gardenlove.food.blog

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