I have had an empty nest for six days. Six glorious days of Me Time, Husband Time, Friend Time…while the kids had high-energy Grandma/Grandpa Time. I am refreshed, rejuvenated and even missing a couple of dark circles under my eyes.

And now that the kids are only a few hours from returning to the nest, they cannot get here fast enough. My insides are fluttery, my hands will not stop moving. I have stocked the fridge with their favorite foods, made their beds with crisp, clean sheets, and tidied up the entire house…even though I fully expect three tornadoes to come sweeping in the door, dumping bags, spilling drinks and throwing filthy shoes on the pristine floor.

As I pace the house, checking email and tying up loose ends, I suddenly have a new appreciation for my own parents and for every parent of grown kids. All those times my Dad calls when we hit the road heading north. How much longer now? Do you have enough gas? Did you factor in rush-hour traffic? I’m cooking steak, Punkin, and I promise I’ll make yours well done.

And a week before any trip out west, my mother-in-law asks for meal ideas, even though she knows by heart what her kids and grandkids will eat. She pulls out the Mickey Mouse waffle maker and the vintage juice glasses that seem to remind her of her own childhood. She ponders the many possible sleeping arrangements and makes sure each bed has its own ultra cozy blanket and nightlight.

All this bustling about…for kids and grandkids who may not notice at all. Who really just want to come home, hug their folks, and stand in the kitchen cracking jokes. But I completely get it. This nest that we create for our families, it’s so much more than brick and mortar.

It’s I love you, I know you, I cherish you. I am so glad you are home.


  1. Elizabeth,
    This was really, really sweet. I read your posts all the time, but this one especially touched my heart.

    Sharon Marcum

  2. My (2.5-year-old) son recently confided in me that he didn’t like “Grandma and Grandpa’s chocolate milk, because it’s spicy” (kid speak for random reason for not liking a food). I had no idea how to break it to them because I know they went out of their way to buy a special chocolate almond milk, for all the reasons you touched on! The last time we visited, my dad said, “Hey, have you every tried that chocolate almond milk we bought? It tastes awful. No wonder the kids don’t like it.” And a wave of relief washed over me.

  3. What a beautiful post. Made my heart flutter. Also made me want to clean my nest, except my birdies are all here and somehow I don’t know that it would feel quite the same! ;) Hope it is a fun-filled, hug heavy reunion!

  4. Just read this a second time. Didn’t comment the first time? Maybe I was on my phone – hate commenting from my phone. Anyway – I always find it hard to be separated from my children. Which is weird since I dropped them off at daycare for the first four years. And I LOVE being alone… But proximity is such a big part of my relationship with them now. Having my daughter wander over to lean on my leg…sitting on the couch next to my oldest and feeling his head touch my shoulder…picking up my other son who is far too old to be carried around, but still so small, I can’t help myself. I often find myself at the bottom of a pile – all of them trying to sit on my lap at once, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt happier. It does feel like this home is a nest – and when they come back after hours or days – and especially when I come back after hours or days, there is this feeling of relief. Maybe completion. I can picture the pre-homecoming moments you describe perfectly. So perfectly well put.

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