Empty nest refers to when the last child in the family leaves the home. I am feeling a little bit of those symptoms with the start of school right around the corner.
My almost 10-year-old will be going to 4th grade.
My 8-year-old will be going to 2nd grade.
My 4-year-old will be going to 4-year-old Kindergarten, two full days/week.
We have been having a pretty good summer. Better than I expected it to ever be. The summer has gone by very quickly for me with a few bad/stressful days here and there. (Exactly what you would expect if you lived in my house.) This is the first summer that homeschooling has crossed my mind, for just a few minutes.
I thought of ”empty nest” because everyone has been asking me, “What are you and Nola Mae going to do when Henry is in school?” As if Henry was leaving us to go to college. My first thought is, ”I will miss him like crazy! Thankfully, 4K is only two days a week!”
He is my shadow. He is the most independent 4-year-old I have ever had. He is my entertainment with his stories and ideas. He is my helper in the kitchen and in the garden. He is my ironing dude in my sewing room. He is my spy/extra eyes on the older boys. He is my biking partner and my skiing buddy. He is Nola Mae’s best friend and her protector. She is his shadow. We will miss him!
My friends that have gone through empty nest have talked about how rotten their teenagers were before they actually left. In a way, making it a little easier to say good-bye.
Since I have been telling people I am not looking forward to the start of the school year because we have had such a good summer. Henry has turned into a very mischievous and rotten boy. He has got me thinking things like “I am going to be thankful for school start!” or “The chickens aren’t going to miss him, that is for sure!” or “I hope he doesn’t say that word at school!” or “Should I warn his teacher about…?” or ”I am going to enjoy my clean house on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Lately, Henry is:
The snack sneaker – let’s just say, he stinks at hiding the evidence.
The neighborhood social butterfly – many times this summer he has gone to our neighbor’s house without me knowing. One day, I thought he was in the wood shop with Jack. When I went to see how that was going, he never made it to the wood shop, and I found him coming up the path in the woods.
The money hoarder/thief - Jack was cleaning in the toy room and found my missing piano money and the video camera under the bed. I am still on the look out for my zipper bag that I keep my checkbook in. Henry found Charlie’s zipper money bag that had $15 of bills in it and some change. I asked him to give it all to Charlie. He did, but later took the bills out and put them in his pocket. We didn’t know this happened until a couple of days later. I had no clue what shorts he was wearing. It took me about three days to find that money.
The boy who disappears - the scariest thing for me is I am wondering what kind of mess he has created or what kind of food is he eating.
The boy who wants to always do it his way, always with the intention of being helpful - First story: I had Charlie’s birthday cake up high on a table that Nola Mae doesn’t usually climb on and I made that clear to everyone. It just happened that she climbed on that table later on in the day and I freaked out because she could have knocked the cake off the table. Later on, without me noticing, Henry carried the cake container into the toy room and put it on the bed. When it was getting close to cake time Henry went to get the cake, bumped his hand on the door frame and dropped the cake container on its side. Second story: I found my 2014 license plate sticker sticking to my car door. When I asked Henry why, his response was that he thought it needed to be moved where I could see it better.
The egg collector – After many many times of me telling him he is not allowed in the chicken coop without me, he still is going in there to collect eggs. Sometimes I find eggs broken on the ground on the way to the chicken coop, sometimes eggs just appear in the kitchen and sometimes I notice him coming into the house with eggs.
The chicken bully – First story: Henry’s most recent apology when we were closing the chicken coop up for the night…”Sorry chickens for being mean to you!”
Me: Oh? How were you doing that?
Henry: I was hurting them with a bat.
Me: I bet that really hurt them!
Henry: I just wanted some meat from them.
Second story: One day when I was looking for Henry (first places to look are the garage, garden, the chicken coop, and then the neighbor’s). I found him in the chicken coop. He was talking to someone. I waited outside the door and listened. He was saying, “You’re not smart. You’re not smart. You are smart. You’re not smart. You are smart!” Then he tried to open the door. The door knob sometimes sticks. That is when I grabbed it and held it closed. Secretly, I wanted him to get a little worried about getting trapped in the chicken coop, so he would be afraid to go in there without me. Because me just telling him he can’t go in there without me doesn’t work! He tried the door again and said, “I guess it’s locked.” I heard him doing a little hard work kind of grunting, so I peaked through the window and saw that he was climbing the 3 foot rock wall to the chicken coop window – with three eggs in his shirt and hands. He made it out the window without breaking any eggs.
The boy who doesn’t listen – see examples in all the above stories.
Henry really is my sweetheart and I will miss him and his teachers will love him.