So the “Robin Family”  was created, the babies  raised, then pushed from their home, and now successfully on their own.  I really enjoyed being a part of this…on so many levels.  While this Saga developed, pictures and updates from my Cousin Mary came often, and I couldn’t wait to write all about it and share the wonderful photography with the world.

When the “kids” were all gone, Mary sent me one last  picture… of the Empty Nest.  Oh, the melancholy began to set in!  The “Empty Nest”….something I was facing in my own life after 40 years.   I ‘swore’ I was going to get a print of this photo and frame it and hang it where I would look at it often!

The VERY empty nest...

How fitting…and poignant.

My grandson has been living with me since he was 8 years old.  He is 21 years now, in school (college) full time, and in love.  He is also slowly moving out of my home.  “Oh, woe is me!  All alone….after dedicating my life to kids for 40 years.  Whatever shall I do?”

Well, I am home by myself most of the time, now…..and, I LIKE IT!   And I like that he has grown into a strong young man with values I admire, and a simply wonderful girlfriend.  Their visits are often, and the conversations are fun.  My own “Empty Nest” is growing to be a comfortable place to be.  Maybe I don’t need to make a shrine out of the Empty Nest picture!

As a matter of fact, I have spent some time actually examining that photo…there is more there than I first noticed.  It is becoming even more appropriate as a symbol of my own life than I first thought it was.  Take a closer look.  It is empty of ‘kids’, but is it truly empty?

As my kids grew up and left home to start their own lives, I:   Cleaned carpets of stains (candle wax, crayons, ink, spilled soda, mystery filth (Ew!)).  I patched the holes in the walls, screens, furniture, whatever ( however it got there???). I peeled the tape off the walls from where the posters used to hang (which I discovered were hung to cover the holes made from the darts being thrown and missing the target…among other causes). I moved, then moved again to smaller and smaller homes.  And as my living space got more limited, I packed into boxes of all sizes whatever they left behind, marked them with the various names as best I could without kids here to fight over who originally owned what, and put them into whatever storage I had to use.  Phew!

Now, look at the “Empty Nest” photo again….there are ‘remnants’ of ‘stuff’ left in the bottom (Ew!), the surrounding leaves (Walls?) are discolored (from posters, maybe), the edges of the nest are showing wear and tear (from darts and fights?), and it is a bit dirty in general.  The parents are going to have to work hard to undo what has been done to their home.  And, while they are busy ‘removing the stuff on the bottom’, I will be in my own space re-sorting and re-packing boxes.  Mom and Dad Robin  are readying their home for a new brood.  I am preparing to ship “4 Lives to their Rightful Owners.”  Both intense, and loving, and spirit-worthy jobs.

I have my own little pieces of several childhoods….they can each have them after I have passed.  Meantime, they are my own precious memories, and they are over there –  in my newly cleared out closet by the “Empty Nest” photo…with the Smilie Face sticker in the corner of the frame!.