Days of Future Past- Empty Nest Edition

My wonderful wife, Laura, seems to be holding up better than expected as stand just hours away from Empty Nest-hood. Last weekend we dropped off our younger daughter to be a College Freshman in her crowded new (really super-old) dorm and tomorrow we will deliver our older daughter to her school for her junior year. One thing I’ve been thinking a lot lately is “Thank goodness the kids went to camp for 6 weeks every summer for many years. It was good practice being away for them, and even better practice for me and Laura.” (I never went to sleep-away camp as a kid, and so I thought that when you have kids they live in your house every day for 18+ years until college.)

Anyway, recently on the occasion of taking down our last Parent Teacher Student Association calendar, Laura tossed off a Facebook post with some reflections which struck a chord in me (and several of our friends) and I thought it cried out to be a blog post. So, since she is more eloquent than me anyway, I am stealing (with permission) my wife’s recent Facebook post as a “guest blog” to share with other similarly situated people in my reading public:

This is not just a calendar. It is a symbol of a major life milestone. This is our last PTSA calendar. I bought my first one in 1999 on our older daughter’s first day of kindergarten. For 15 years the PTSA calendar has hung in the same spot on our kitchen wall, helping to keep track of everything happening inside and outside school. Over the years the priorities with respect to the calendar changed. When the girls were in elementary school I would look at the calendar and think, I don’t really need to know when the SAT’s are or when (or what) a Model UN is. More recently, I’d see the calendar and think, It no longer matters when the 3rd grade strings concert or the Parents as Writing Partners evening is happening. Over the years, I would note all the early dismissal days, originally to make sure the kids had babysitting, later to make sure they had rides, and finally to make sure they had a car at school. The calendar told the story of the rhythm of our family life – all the soccer and softball games, dance recitals and musical theater performances, birthday parties, bat and bar mitzvahs, doctor’s appointments, camp visiting days.

My next calendar will likely have photographs of scenery, reproductions of paintings, or cute kittens. It will list national and some religious holidays, and will still record various goings-on. With both kids living away at college, it will not be as full. And it will not say when Back to School Night is.

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