Tomorrow will be the first day my wife, Josie, and I will be living alone together in more than 28 years. Sure, we’ve been alone when traveling and so forth, but we’ve never had much alone time at home. My younger son, Jon, is shipping off to Army basic training sometime tomorrow, but he’s staying in a contracted hotel today. My home is now an empty nest and for me, it’s a relief. My wife is reacting quite differently.
According to what I’ve read, the empty nest syndrome is the feeling of grief and loneliness some parents encounter when all their children have left home for good. It’s too early to tell, but I doubt it will affect either of us for very long even if it does affect us.
I’ve longed for an empty nest since the day Jon graduated from high school. Josie is a Filipino-American and comes from a much more closely knit family. She cried when my older son left for the Army in 2002 and she cried when we dropped Jon off today.
We’re not going to have much time to be lonely together. When we return to the Philippines, without any children in tow, we’ll have plenty of people around us all the time – Josie’s relatives.
Since grown children have a tendency to boomerang back into their parents homes these days, our plans are on hold. Our empty nest may only be empty temporarily. I’m not a pessimist, but I have to consider any worst case scenarios. There are many reasons for failure at basic training. Not all the reasons are preventable.
We’re staying right where we are until Jon completes basic training and the school for his occupational specialty. Based on how long the school is supposed to be, that means we’ll be here until at least November of this year.
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