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  • Kristan Higgins

Tales from the empty nest

Updated: May 4, 2022


Today, the Princess asked how the empty nest was going, and I said, “It’s great! We’re having a lot of fun.”

She said, “Are you just saying that because you’re afraid to tell me the truth?”

I laughed. Repeated the question to McIrish who also laughed.

“We’re doing just fine,” I assured her. “Limping along.”


The truth is, the empty nest is wicked awesome! Now, this is largely because both our kids are happy, well adjusted, and enjoying college, and we’re very grateful for all those things. But it’s also because McIrish and I genuinely like each other. In the empty nest, adult snuggling can happen at any hour. We’ve been sleeping a lot later. All those hours our kids stole from us are finally getting repaid.

There’s not a lot of laundry or dishes to do. The grocery bill has plummeted. The house is very tidy, and if I leave the house and come back, it’s still tidy!

We eat later. We’re like cool Europeans, even. We stay up later.

We get to watch TV on the big television set upstairs, in the family room…not like animals on the tube TV downstairs. (Actually, we prefer the old TV for some reason, but if we want to watch the flat-screen, we can.)

We’re really embracing a gentle, uneventful middle age with both arms. “Look!” McIrish said the other night. “The clouds are so pretty.” We stood, arms around each other, and admired the clouds. They were so pretty!


During our biweekly phone call with the kids, we report things like seeing three deer in the valley. We give them an update on the monarch butterflies that grace our garden. The state of the cat (unchanged, omnipotent, attractive). The thrilling linen closet reorganization. The dogs’ new chew toys. The excitement of my upcoming knee MRI.

Of course, I miss my babies. But as I remind myself daily, our job was to raise them, and we have.

And luckily, they’ll be coming home soon.


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