Six months ago our nest officially became empty as our younger daughter (Thing 2 for those of you who’ve been following YMFT since the beginning) went to college over 1,300 miles away to chase a dream that required her to attend a BFA program not offered anywhere close to home (or one I was equipped to home
schoolcollege her in).
Our older daughter (remember Thing 1, who I was writing all these growing off to college posts about, like yesterday?) has long since graduated from college and has been interning at The Happiest Place on Earth for the past year: first with the marine mammals at Epcot and then with a lot of four-legged ones at Animal Kingdom. She’s a zoologist with a goal of training sea-lions or dolphins, and is now headed to the Florida Keys to
play work with both. (Rough office, but she’ll manage.)
I blinked and my family changed.
We were only all together a handful of times in 2019 which was a rough adjustment for all of us, but we managed to make the times we were together count (meaning matching shirts, obviously).
As someone who may or may not be a bit obsessive about planning, having to adjust to the uncertainty of knowing when or where our family would be together was more than a little tough. (See this post I recently wrote for Grown & Flown about how I am still handling — or not handling — that.)
But oddly, this isn’t a post about my kids and their paths, which, I know, is a bit shocking. Of the 644 posts I’ve published since starting YMFT almost eight years ago, I’d say at least 600 have been about them.
This is us
Now that our nest is empty, however, things are starting to be more about us.
You know, the two people who met in college and had so much fun together they decided they wanted to keep it going for life.
The ones who became parents two years after getting married and whose lives over the next 24 were consumed with feeding schedules and Little Bear and Disney movies and bedtime battles and playing with zoo animals and Barbies and drying tears and driving to dance class and helping with homework and nursing illnesses and planning fun family vacations that required a vacation after the vacation and trying to make dinners everyone would eat.
Hey wait, I’m still doing that.
The point is, somewhere along the way the two of us got a bit lost in the mad shuffle. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship remained strong, but it’s sometimes hard to remember yourself as a couple when you’ve spent 24 years besieged as parents.
Back to Costco
“What did we used to do?”‘ I asked my husband late last summer, already thinking ahead to the evenings and weekends we were about to have absent of the multitude of daughter-related needs and activities that have taken over since … well, since before I could remember, apparently.
“We didn’t even have streaming networks or internet,” I said. “Seriously, what did we do when we weren’t working?”
He was silent.
I could tell I’d stumped him.
“Um, we’d go out to dinner?” he offered. “And Costco! I feel like we would go to Costco most weekends, if not to buy stuff at least to eat.”
(As you can see, we were always a barrel of fun.)
“Yes! I think you’re right!” I said, happy to share the memory because it gave me hope that the hair that perimenopause has taken isn’t the only thing.
“And didn’t we used to play cards?” I asked. “I seem to recall knowing how to play a card game that wasn’t Go Fish.”
The memories were flowing now.
“And the park! We’d go to the park and toss that hollow frisbie — the Aerobie!” I exclaimed, remembering with a Laura Ingalls sense of wonder of the simpler times before tiny screens dominated our lives.
I’d like to say the list kept growing, but honestly that’s about where we landed.
Dinners out (Red Robin and the pizza joint on the corner were our favorites), long walks down the Costco aisles capped off with a gigantic hot dog, and the occasional card game or day at the park.
While we certainly could repeat those scintillating activities in our new phase of life (and I’ll be honest, pretty much do) I was kind of hoping for more content.
So I’ve decided to generate it.
(Here’s where the point of this post comes in, BTW. Congrats, you’ve made it!)
Time for a change
YMFT is going to be undergoing a bit of a change going forward.
While it will always be an outlet for me to share stories, they — like my stage in life — are changing and evolving.
I’ve spent the past six years telling you stories relating to my kids because that was what was pertinent in my life. And while my kids are certainly still front and center (seriously, I talk to each of them multiple times a day even though they are scattered all over the United States like a fallen bag of rice), my story is changing.
My husband and I have had to switch gears as we start this second phase in our lives, and it’s time to switch them up here a bit as well.
So what does that look like?
Well, for starters, it looks like this post.
And going forward it looks like content relating to how to keep life FULL when the nest is empty: activities, adventures, games, recipes, suggestions, travel, reviews, shows to watch, and yes, stories about parenting adult children, because that will always be part of our story.
They say to write what you know, and friends, what I know right now, in this stage of my life, is that things are changing and I have two choices:
Live in the past and let things fly past me (because try as I might, I can’t stop them) or hold on tight and figure out how to keep shit interesting, and more importantly, abundant.
I’m choosing that one.
In the next few months (I’d love to say month but let’s be real) the site will undergo some cosmetic changes and reinventions. I’ll keep many of the old favorite posts that have meant a lot to me but am going to clean house a bit in the archives.
I’ve struggled a lot with the name, but have decided to keep You’re My Favorite Today — for now at least. I just can’t imagine giving it up when it’s meant so much to me for the past eight years. I thought of adding “…Again” to it to refer to my husband since this is going to be a site more about this second, empty nest phase in life, but honestly that just sounded mean … even though it’s kind of true.
I think it still works as is, though, don’t you?
Nest of Possibility
I use the term “empty nest” quite a bit, because our house does indeed feel empty without the colorful, vibrant presence of my girls.
But going forward I want to think of it as a nest of possibility, and fill it with new adventures and experiences … keeping, of course, the occasional weekend trip to Costco, because that’s just a damn fine way to spend a Saturday night.
Like my life right now, I’m not sure what this will end up looking like (and the change is a little bit scary) but I know one thing for sure: I hope you all stick around and come along for the ride.