So much for the empty nest

Well, this is ironic.

Last fall I decided to switch You’re my Favorite Today over to more content that would reflect the new, empty nest phase of life Brian and I were embarking on. With our younger daughter in college in Connecticut and our older well into her second internship at Walt Disney World (with another soon beginning that would keep her in Florida until May) it really seemed that our lives were shifting into brand new, unknown territory.

For the past couple of months I’ve been working hard to shift things over from my old site to this new one that is fresh and clean, which I felt would be a good reflection of the fresh and clean content I’ve been excited to create: content about keeping life full when the nest is empty. (See that tagline way up there??) On Instagram I’ve been using the hashtag #fulllifeemptynest to reflect the ways we are embracing the changes that we’re experiencing now that our kids are gone.

But now, suddenly, they’re back.
Our nest is, quite unexpectedly, full once again.

Putting life on pause

(No) thanks to coronavirus, my younger daughter’s freshman year of college will now be completed via her laptop, which isn’t going to be that ideal since she’s a musical theatre major and almost all of her classes are performance based.

Doing jazz and ballet combos isn’t quite the same when you’re doing them alone in your living room instead of in a dance studio surrounded by and energized by a group of other dancers. And who’s supposed to be her partner for scenes in acting class? (The cats are already arguing about this.) Since the rest of the semester was TBD when they left for spring break, we have no idea when we’ll be able to get back to Connecticut to pack up her dorm room. It’s a strange, sad, and unsettling situation.

My older daughter just made the long drive home from the Florida Keys where she abruptly left her internship that was supposed to have lasted until May. Leaving a job where she was finally working with sea lions was beyond disappointing (she’s a zoologist on the path to becoming a marine mammal trainer, hopefully with sea lions). I mean, when your coworkers treat you like this, having to say goodbye isn’t easy, especially when you have to do it so suddenly.

Be careful what you wish for

So now here we are, all back under the same roof for who knows how long. Obviously, my heart is as full as my foyer, my dishwasher, and my pantry, and this unexpected turn of events is a silver lining amidst the dark days we are currently living in. For months I’ve longed for the days when we all simply lived together in our regular, mundane routines.
Be careful what you wish for, right?

Over the past few days I’ve wondered what this all means for the new direction I’ve planned to take this site. Now that my nest isn’t empty anymore, have the past couple of months of hard transition work been for nothing? Can I still create content that I’ve built my new framework around and is relevant to the viewpoint I’ve been coming from for the past seven months?
I think the answer is “sort of.”

While I certainly can’t write from the perspective of an empty nester trying to navigate things with just my husband right now, I can still write about our experiences in this newly full nest (“former empty nesters,” if you will). Believe me, there’s a lot to say about that already (can someone please tell me when the washing machine is empty so I can wash my clothes??).

One day at a time

So we’ll just have to take things one day at a time, I guess, both with the horrifying situation outside and the unexpected, happy round-two we’re living inside. As much as I’m loving having us all together again, I know — and hope — it’s temporary. I mean, selfish wishes aside, I want my girls to be out there following the paths they’ve worked so hard to get on. And while I know that one day I’ll be back to writing about keeping life full when the nest is empty, I’m fairly certain that keeping life full when the nest is once again full will make for some unanticipated content.

Stick around, won’t you?


  1. Lara on March 25, 2020 at 7:42 am

    It is good to know everyone in your family is safe, but how frustrating for your daughters! I hope you are all able to enjoy this together time.

    • Michelle on March 27, 2020 at 11:58 am

      Thank you! Yes, having all of us under the same roof brings a sense of control and a lot of comfort during this time, no question. But you’re right, while it’s great being together again I’m sad for what they’re missing. Thanks for the comment ~ hope you are hanging in there as well!

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