Empty Nest

My husband and I are empty nesters! How did this happen?

On January 17, 1992, Jason and I welcomed Tessa Anne to our family. She was perfect!  I had been babysitting since the age of twelve, so I felt very prepared for parenthood.  She was the easiest baby ever!  She was a great sleeper, and eater, and she rarely cried.  Skip ahead to July 28, 1994.  Shortly  after 10 p.m. we met our big boy, Luke Robert.  He was my sweet boy from day one.  This boy has always been kind and gentle.  He never hangs up the phone without telling me that he loves me.

Tess decided to get her own place for her senior year at ASU so she was closer to campus and her internship.  At least she is close enough to come home often or I can head to Tempe to meet up with her.  Tessa was born Ms Independent, so I am accustomed to her going and doing things on her own.  She started school at age 3 and rode the bus to and from school each day.  I was teaching first grade at a school that had a preschool program for developmentally delayed children.  A decision was made to add a peer model to the program.  I was asked if I would be willing to have Tessa try it out.  It was a wonderful opportunity!  Tessa loved her teachers and classmates.  She was a great model because she talked non-stop(that is when she wasn’t singing) and most of the other students had speech delays.  There was never a lack of a verbal role model with Tess around.

Luke is the complete opposite of Tessa.  He doesn’t like an adventure or change.  He has a very quite soul.  He was also a really good baby, but he always wanted to be very close to me.  Luke and Tess are the best of friends and always have been.  There were never many sibling squabbles mainly due to the fact that Luke just said “sure” to whatever Tessa suggested.  Luke is very sensitive and empathetic.  He doesn’t want anyone to be upset with him and does not like to be around any type of conflict.

On the first of October, Jason and I moved Luke into his place in North Hollywood.  When we moved him in we had no idea how long he would be staying.  His school would not set up interviews or place him in his internship until  he was physically in Hollywood.  This drove me crazy!  I’m a planner and I have no idea where my son will have to drive to each day and I have no idea how long he will be away from home. I made sure we stayed another night in the nearby hotel so I could see with my own eyes that he was settled in and fine, before we drive 360 miles back home.  He did not have a good first night.   He had trouble sleeping and felt anxious about having roommates that he didn’t know.   Jason and I picked up a rental car because Luke would need a car for his audio engineering internship.  We made one last run into Target to get him a tea kettle, extension cord(he’s on a top bunk:/), and a reading light.  All that was running through my head was “Stay strong, don’t cry when we say goodbye, it will only upset Luke”.  As we walked back to the car, I looked over and Luke had big tears streaming down his cheeks.  So much for me staying strong!  Luckily Jason handles these situations really well.  He knew just what to say to Luke and he knew just what to say to me.  For the life of me I can’t remember what he said, but he calmed both of us down.  Luke told us how much he was going to miss us and we said goodbye.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  Just drive away and leave my 19 year old son in another city and state, where he doesn’t know anyone!

Jason and I were going to stay two more nights in California, but two to three hours away from where Luke was staying.  Remember, when we left him, he still didn’t know when and where his internship would be.  Jason did a good job of keeping my mind off of my despair.  We drove down to La Jolla and had a room right on the water.  I texted Luke quite a few times, but he didn’t respond.  I figured he was sleeping because he didn’t sleep well the night before.  Finally, around 6:30 p.m. I got a text from Luke telling me that he couldn’t talk or text because he was at his internship.  WHAT?? We had just left him a few hours before and he didn’t even have an interview lined up!  Around 7ish he called me and said that he went to a record store(Luke’s version of Disneyland)to try to cheer himself up, and a recording studio called him for an interview.  He drove over to the studio, met the manager and audio engineer and they offered him a position right on the spot.  They could tell he was a responsible, well-mannered, and intelligent young man.  It was a perfect match for the type of work that interests Luke.  They told him to come back the next day to start his first day on the job.  In typical Luke fashion he said that he would like to stay and work a few hours right away, if they were ok with that.  They were.  He set up mikes, put away gear, did anything that he saw that needed attention.  That first day was October 2nd.  Between October 2nd and October 11th, he has worked every single day and has logged about 94 hours!  He has met incredible musicians(I can’t say names as it has to be confidential)and I look forward to his daily texts when he lets his dad know who is scheduled for a session.  I am so proud of him!

Now, back to our empty nest.  What does it look like?  What does it sound like?  Well, it sounds way too quiet.  This is a musical family!  I am accustomed to drums beating, guitars playing, vocals and bass lines being recorded.  Again, Jason has helped, a bit, working on some recording projects while we have been off of work.  It is just not the same kind of noise.  The pictures below will give you a sense of what an empty nest looks like.  It is going to take a long time for this to become my new normal.

My kitchen just doesn't seem to get messy.  Jason and I take 3 days to get enough dirty dishes to even run the dishwasher.

My kitchen just doesn’t seem to get messy. Jason and I take 3 days to get enough dirty dishes to even run the dishwasher.

The kid's bathroom barely needs a touch up.  This is the strangest experience for me!

The kid’s bathroom barely needs a touch up. This is the strangest experience for me!

The desk remains neat and tidy day after day.

The desk remains neat and tidy day after day.

Silent family room!  I miss hearing Luke giggle as he watches Portlandia!

Silent family room! I miss hearing Luke giggle as he watches Portlandia!

Luke's empty bed.

Luke’s empty bed.

And finally, my favorite part of my house.  I catch myself looking at these photos more than usual.

And finally, my favorite part of my house. I catch myself looking at these photos more than usual.

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3 Responses to Empty Nest

  1. Bob and Angie says:

    A beautiful story by a wonderful wife and mother. We’re so proud of you all!
    Mom and Dad Ferguson

  2. Cary says:

    Beautiful thoughts Dana! It is hard to let go…. That’s for sure!

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