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Front Page » May 27, 2008 » Opinion » Staff column: Empty nest an uncomfortable place
Published 2,255 days ago

Staff column: Empty nest an uncomfortable place


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

This past week we moved my youngest son out of the house and out of town to take a job. While he is now living only about a hundred miles away, the house seems very empty. He may as well have moved to Patagonia.

Once again the two of us are alone.

I say again because for about two years he lived on his own in Price and for a very short time in Idaho. But when he decided to go to school at CEU last year we let him move in the basement so he wouldn't have so many expenses to worry about.

The first time he moved out he only lived about four miles away from us. Then when he moved to Idaho he was about five hours away.

It's funny, but both those moves seemed easier to both my wife and I than this move to the Uintah Basin has been.

Why that is, I don't know. Maybe it's because as we have gotten older the thrill of being alone again in a big house doesn't entice us as it did the first time; you know trying to go back to the days of our early marriage when kids were seldom around (we did have my two kids from my first marriage every other weekend then, however).

I think what scares us more than anything is that this time we know it is permanent. He has a good job where he went, with a good company and good people. Unless he changes his mind, nothing probably will ever bring him back for good to our home or maybe even to Carbon County.

Before when he moved out his shift in residences never seemed a sure thing, something that would last; now it does.

I find that my wife and I keep talking about him when he was small and the things he used to do. It was a good time in our lives, although I know I didn't appreciate it as much then as I do in retrospect. I was too busy with trying to make a living and doing things I wanted to do. I guess that should be warning for younger people with little kids; appreciate them while you can, even if at times they try you, because some day they won't be that cute little five year old anymore and will be living their own adult lives.

So after 23 years of having kids in the house all the time, I think it is over. I know some parents are overjoyed by this prospect, but not at our place. The basement where he lived is dark. No more late night explosions of sound from video games or the familiar squeak of his car when he pulls in the driveway late at night.

The last time he was gone my wife even found a card with two cats similar to ours on the front of it and she printed in it, "Your roommates miss you." They always slept in the basement with him.

I noticed last night they were wandering around looking kind of lonely.

I think my older two kids find our reaction to this situation rather amusing. While neither of them lived with us for long, because I shared them with my ex-wife, their departure from regular residential time in our house ended long ago. The "baby" has now moved out and what is mom and dad to do?

Well, life will go on and I guess there are some advantages. Now we can move toward that remodeling project in the basement we have been putting off. And we can now go down there and watch the NBA playoffs on our large screen television that I haven't been able to view for a number of months. I also don't have to worry about tripping over something in the basement that he set out or turning off lights that he left on, making me poorer and the power company richer. Sure there are some good things about his departure.

But regardless of the advantages, inside our hearts, we both would rather go down into the depths beneath our house and see our youngest child still sleeping on his bed.


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