In 2016 I had an empty nest for seven months. Typically I don't like labels, and since our children are meant to GROW UP AND MOVE OUT, it's just the natural course of events, so I didn't embrace the 'empty nest' title.
Whitney told me she was moving out after she had already put a deposit on her house. I was fine. (And so proud of myself for being fine). I thought my baby leaving would kill me. But I WAS FINE! She had been gone for two weeks, I hadn't seen her, so I went in her place of employment on my way home from work and she practically tackled me to hug me. (We're not much of a hugging family, so that spoke volumes). But then... she had been gone for 6 months and I had a melt down. Lost it driving home from work one day. Bawled like a baby.
I was sad. Really sad. Felt old. Useless. Out of touch. Unneeded. Unnecessary.
In typical fashion of my life, after two weeks of grieving - literal grieving (and self pity) - Whitney asks if she can move home and go back to school. So my nest has one little bird in it. She's different after 7 months on her own. More thoughtful, more conscientious. More grown up. She buys us "prezzies".
I look at this time with her as bonus time, because the next time she leaves, it will be for good. The happy sunny child grew into a beautiful adult woman. She is the perfect exclamation point for our family.