Saturday, May 21, 2011

Creativity Exercise: Empty Nest

The girls. Two seconds ago. Or so it seems.
I woke up around 2 a.m. on Friday thinking, "I don't ever have to wake anyone up for school again."

And that, my friends, is what runs through a mother's mind at this time of year. Mary graduates from high school this weekend; in August, she and Kate will drive off to K-State together. I still think they should be on trikes. They both outgrew me years ago, but they're still my babies. Sigh ...

The phrase typically used to describe the next phase of life for me and Tom is "empty nest." Clearly, that's not going to work. I'm already having night terrors. I don't need negative words floating through my brain.

Your assignment? Help me out. Give me a better phrase -- something short and sweet and positive that I can substitute for "empty nest." I'd do it myself, but I'm running on empty at the moment -- all my creative energy has gone into party planning. (If you'd like to see Mary's graduation video, look here. Warning: it's 12 minutes long. I don't think that's why the video made some people cry, but it's possible.)

Anyway, you write a happy description for my new life. I'll post it -- here, on Twitter, on Facebook, on BlogHer. Zillions of parents will thank you!


Erica said...

I just love this picture! And your blog made me cry..... Think of your "no kid" time, as time to get yourself prepared for your grandkids.....!

Bud Simpson said...

You and Tom are soon to become "Graduate Parents".

You will be entitled to all the benefits of persons of your stature and success as parents. No, there will be no ceremony, no mortarboard or Master's hood, but we all know that you have successfully completed the required course of study and should be tremendously proud of your accomplishments.

Next step, "Parent Emeritus".

Hedy said...

I think that what I "advised" parents of my kindergartners (over 30 some retired) holds true ..."In raising children the years go quickly, but there are some very long moments."

Pat said...

It's all about you now (but in a good way). Getting in touch with your unmom side.

Mike Brown said...

How about your "rekindle time"?

Either you'll rekindle your relationship with Tom in new ways or you'll just want to get new book after new book for your Kindle.

Either way, the name works! : )

Lezlie said...

Since you're a writer, perhaps something like.... "next page parents" or "new page parents"

Chris Reaburn said...

First thing that leapt to mind as a replacement to "empty nesters" was "hearthkeepers"

Hearth because of the close association with the word "home" (ie/ Home & Hearth), because it represents a warm communal place within a home, and because the word sounds like "heart"

Keepers because for your kids and yourselves, you maintain the home, both literally and (more importantly) figuratively. Regardless of their age, the home is still your kids refuge / home base.

Keepers of the hearth sounds like "guardian of the home" - an unbelieveably important job, which it is. The first time your kids return from college, or get divorced, or lose their jobs, or bring their kids home, we get the idea of how important a well-maintained hearth is.

I've never really thought about it before, but "empty nest" is an inapt description.

Jan said...

I was thinking about "free bird," based on an email someone sent me ... promoting the fact that Tom and I will now have time to do what we want, without regard to children. But I'm liking "hearthkeeper" and all the points Chris makes ...

Empty nest is a ridiculous phrase. I'm still here. Tom's still here. The hearth and the heart are still here.