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Open Nest

posted Dec 3, 2016, 4:09 PM by Heather Harrison

Two years ago our first born son left for college.  It felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body.  I cried the entire 7hour drive home.  How in the world was I supposed to pass his bedroom, where he had been every night, since he had moved into this house at age two, and breath?  Last year, our second born son made the exact same journey.  Two years, two boys at college.  Our family of five, who had eaten dinner together every night for the last 19 years, seemed so small as the three of us sat there wondering when the heck I was going to figure out how to cook for three vs a small army. We’ve had a 1year reprieve of the send off process.  Next Fall our daughter will follow her brothers off to college.  As our friends and family look at us and recognize in a 4year time span we will have gone from a family of five to the two of us, they generally ask, “how will you handle the empty nest?”  I don’t know if it is my own emptiness, the sight of empty bedrooms and empty chairs at the table or what, but the term “Empty Nest” does not work for me.  So I have decided to rename this season an “Open Nest”.  For me, an Open Nest brings about an array of positive questions.

Who do we want to invite into our Open Nest?  

What do we want to fill our Open Nest with?

How much space is in our Open Nest?

What was in our old nest that we do not want to bring to our new Open Nest?

What I have learned over the last two years, is that as painful as the separation and launching process is, (and I fully realize it is not for everyone) when you face the pain, emptiness, and sadness head on, it will dissipate. Weather you are close to, or have gone through watching your kids move on, I encourage you to christen your Open Nest by engaging with the above questions.


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