Empty Nests are Emptier at Christmas

Okay, so my nest isn’t completely empty but it’s emptying at an alarming rate and quite frankly is sucks ass more than anything has ever sucked ass before or since.  So there!

To be honest, I’m spoiled because my one child is in an apartment near school that’s only a 20 minute drive from our house and the other two are still technically living at home so I do get to see them more than other parents get to see their college age kids.  But I’m having a tantrum here so you’ll just have to bear with me and deal with my whining.

The part that sucks is that while their bodies are near their heads are GONE.  They’ve got LIVES separate and apart from ours and it feels really weird.  I was in Target yesterday because, well…that’s my happy place…and I wandered over to the Christmas section.  There were stocking stuffers and bedazzled Christmas Trees and carols playing and all manner of ornaments, stockings and lights to be purchased.  A little farther down were aisles and aisles of toys and games and puzzles and dolls just waiting for Santa’s elves to swoop in and purchase them once Christmas lists have been completed.  I was there to soak up all the warm and fuzzy’s because that’s how I’m rolling this year.  Right?

No…because it wasn’t warm and fuzzy…it was cold and sad.  Why?  Because I was there alone.  Normally being alone in Target is my nirvana.  A fountain soft drink or Starbucks coffee in hand and I can wander those aisles for ever and never buy a thing (well at least I try to keep it under $100).  My blood pressure goes down, my permafrown turns upward and I leave a little broker but a lot happier.

Not yesterday though.  One of the things I used to love to do was take the boys shopping at Christmas time.  I loved to watch their faces light up when they saw the trees right after Halloween (while I stuffed down all my feelings I let theirs run amok) and listened as they ooo’d and ahhhh’d over all the stuff they wanted Santa to bring.  Even after they got older I liked to watch them try on clothes or pick out the latest video game.  Then we’d get a soda or a frap and talk about Christmas all the way home.

Even as recent as last Christmas this was still happening.  Perhaps more infrequent and not all three (or four) at once but one on one I’d get to experience it.  Something happened this year however that changed all that – they turned into adults with lives of their own.


I didn’t even realize that the Target Experience was a thing until I found myself alone in the “seasonal” aisle.  I swear to God I started to cry and had to get the hell out of there before I embarrassed myself any further.  As I sat in the car sniffling I texted my boys…

“I HATE being in Target without my boys at Christmas.  Empty nesting SUCKS!”

One replied…

“I’m coming home soon mom.  You could have asked.”

And I said…

“Dude – you were busy and it’s my JOB to LET YOU GO.”

Later he told me that if I was supposed to let him go I shouldn’t send texts like that.  I let him know that even though it was my job, I didn’t have to like it and he’d just have to deal with his crazy mother a little while longer.

The other twin sent me this…

“I HATE having to work on the weekends and not go to Target with you.  Being an adult sucks!”

Well played my son…well played.

The third didn’t reply at all which is completely normal for him.  Texts like that don’t require responses in his mind.  Did I mention he’s the most practical of those three? 

Anyway, after I got home I cried on the hubs shoulder and told him to dust off his shopping shoes because he was going to have to get used to shopping with me again – like we did before we had these love sucking heathen children.



13 thoughts on “Empty Nests are Emptier at Christmas

  1. Okay. This will be no help at all, BUT every time I read one of your posts like this, I go hug my boys tighter and soak up every last smidge of babyness/little boyness cause it’s a reminder that it goes fast and won’t last and I’ll miss it SO much. So, thank you — seriously. And I’m truly sorry that you’re having such a hard time.

    Now this — my current reality: fun-filled weekend resulted in Gil (husband) waking up with flu-like symptoms. I picked my boys up at 2:30 & Wallace’s teacher walked him out and told me he started feeling bad about 10 mins before time to go home. We walk in the door and he starts throwing up EVERYWHERE. I felt awful for him but I’m the worst stomach virus mom EVER. He’s also been on the toilet several times since. So… I’m about to go to the store and then I’ll return and start disinfecting. Sigh… This school year has been the year of the stomach virus.

    But… I’m going to take Piers with me and I’ll make sure that even in my tired frustration, we stop by the toy aisle so I can watch his face light up and I’ll make a point to pay attention.

    I promise. Thank you!! 🙂

    1. I’ll get over it – it’s like any major change…takes a while for it to fit.

      Puking? Ah HELL no! I could do anything and never complain except the puking…that is the WORST.

      And you’ve made my day with your trip with your little one. Just slow down and whatever you do…don’t blink.


  2. Well, you know a situation sucks when a fountain soda/Starbucks can’t fix it. Sorry for those sad feelings, Sherry. I cannot relate, as solo Target shopping trips remain my bliss, but… I remember when I scoffed at the notion “little kids, little problems, big kids,big problems.” And I remember rolling my eyes at the moms of teenagers who said they were nothing more than a shuttle service; suffice it to say that I scoff and roll my eyes no more. So I will read this glimpse into my future, and I will appreciate the endless tales of 9th grade drama, and I will scale back yelling at the 12 year old for rolling in 5 minutes late with black marker all over his face (still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that story yet), and I will appreciate the messy and disorganized house, all in your honor.

    And I will remain hopeful that:

    A. Your writing about this situation has eased the pain a bit
    B. Your husband does the next right thing and takes you to Target to let your feeling run amok

    1. Oh he only has to take me Christmas shopping and please don’t worry, that little episode will not ruin my personal Target Experience. It is my bliss as well. I remember once the men were away and I was home alone. Sunday afternoon I got to really missing them and go sooooo depressed. I got dressed, went to Target and 45 minutes later I was all better!

      And yes, I felt better as soon as I posted.



  3. Ok a few things here…..my favorite treat is Target popcorn and a diet coke. That makes my day. Its like my wine, my drugs! Your boys responses made me smile. You know Molly moved home. Recently it was getting later and later and our one rule was that she let us know if she isn’t coming home at night. She wasn’t answering. So I finally text the boyfriend….”Im sorry to barge in, but you know this is how I roll, fear driven obsessing. Is Molly with you?” He replies….”Yep, shes right here, we just got off work. And I think thats also called Love.” Ohhhhhh yeah, he might be a keeper.
    You are sweet Sherry…..just wait until your boys start having kids! They will so get it then. And yes, sometimes being an adult does suck!

    1. I love the boyfriend’s response – he is definitely a keeper!!! (Is he as hot as the last one cause that boy was FINE. Ooops..that was totally in appropriate wasn’t it?)

      Thanks my friend.

  4. Wow great post.

    I was girding my loins for my son to not be at home this Christmas. He has been with his girlfriend for about 4 years now. He’d made a joke about “We’re nearly at the your Mum’s this Christmas, mine next”. My wife was nearly distraught. He has fully lived away for getting on for 18 months now. But then this year I think fate has intervened – he has to travel to San Francisco for a conference literally flying back in almost on Christmas Eve. Clearly his partner has decided that once he has gone off she’ll pack up and head to her Mum’s. So he’ll be with us but I expect the day after Boxing Day he’ll be gone like a shot.

    So… next year – it’ll be next year now. And by then my daughter will be moved out (partially) she is looking already for a house to share with some uni friends from next summer. That’ll be a tough one for Mrs F to face too I think… oh well…

    1. Oh man…you guys are almost exactly where we are. Yes…Mrs. F will have a tough time and I would have been distraught as well. The one living in the apartment near school mentioned that he wanted to get a Christmas tree for his apartment AND that he and his roommate were having people over for Thanksgiving. I held my breath until he said, “Don’t worry mom, I’ll be here.” Whew! Dodged THAT bullet for one more year!

      We’ll be okay…just gonna take some time is all.


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