Thursday, July 16, 2015

Melancholically Empty Nesting

Our Jersey shore beach vacation was pleasantly and at the moment, presently memorable.  The weather was nearly perfect all week long.   We had one day of rain.  That was Thursday.  But, by then we needed a break from the sun and surf.
We have been home only 10 days and my memories of our time together are already starting to fade.  I took over 300 photographs which are sure to serve as reminders.
(See end of post for all 300 pics)  Just kidding ;)
Even though that there were eleven of us, each distinct in our ages and stages, we blended and bonded with ease.
By day two we began to fall into a languid routine.
Derek and I were always the first two to be up and about.  We both respected our “I am not a morning person” tendencies  by a murmuring of “Good morning” while we each went about our own business.  He with his coffee and paper, me waiting for the water to boil for my tea.
One of my favorite parts of the day was sitting out on the back deck, sipping my tea.  If I sat in just the right spot and with a squint, peered between the alley way of the two houses across the way, I had a slit eye view of the ocean.
Ross would soon join me and we would have important whispered conversations.  After all there was much to discuss.  Like, for instance, the whether.  You know, whether or not we would go out for breakfast, or whether the weather was going to be nice.
After tea I took a brisk 3 mile long walk.  Bella came with me the first three days, but she hurt her foot, so I was on my own the rest of the week.  One of the days Bella was with me, Ross drove us over to the boardwalk for our walk.  He waited for us on a bench with his Kindle.  Afterwards, we treated Bella to breakfast at The Varsity Inn.
Generally, when I got back to the house after the walk,  everyone else had eaten breakfast and were bustling around getting ready to head over to the beach.  When I came into the house,  Jackson, the two year old, would greet me, “Hi Pop-pop.”  Yeah, he can’t say Grandma, so I’m Pop-pop for now.

One day, while we were on the beach, Kenny and Ty asked if I would take a walk with them.  I promised we were sure to find unique sea shells for their collection.  Well, they certainly did.
The boys found a WWII bullet shell casing.  They were excited to show their dad, who was pretty impressed with their find.

One evening I introduced the kids to the game called “Mother May I.”  Surprisingly, none of them had heard of it.   Even more of a surprise,  they actually had fun playing.   Imagine that, especially since there were no electronic devices involved.  (I may have to tirade about the subject of the aforementioned devices in another post.)

Another evening, I enticed four of the grandchildren to join me in the “story corner” of the porch.  When there was a bit of a scuffle over who would get to sit in the rocker, I responded with, “Why the story teller, of course, gets to sit in the rocker, silly children.”
While I was telling the story, I had a sudden revelation.  Bella, my eleven year old granddaughter, who is now taller than me, kept trying to interject logical thoughts into my story.   And she was always such a believer in my fairy dust.
But, I was still able to get the three boys, two seven year olds and a six year old, wide eyed and giggling.  I left them with a cliff hanger to be finished another time.
The next night, after much begging of “When can we hear the rest of the story?” I agreed to finish the tale.  Bella and Ryan were interested.  I could tell that Tyler, the six year old,  wanted to join, but his older brother, Kenny, didn’t want to.  So Ty hung back too.  Soon, though, he sheepishly came out, with his little Ty grin, and asked if I would start the story over again.  Of course I did.
After “The End”, Ryan asked if he could tell a story.
“Uh, Grandma,  I get to sit in the rocker.  I’m the story teller,” he said.
Ryan’s story was quite complex.  Bella and Ty, quickly lost interest.  But Ross and I remained attentive throughout the next 20 minutes.
I found it fascinating that as Ryan, the story teller, went along, he would adjust the plot accordingly, to fit in with what would make sense to the storyline.
The story was about a giant wave that periodically, over many years, would swallow its victims and keep them captive in its belly.
At one point he mentioned,  “The Titanic, you know Grandma, the one that got knocked over by a big wave?” was also caught in the monster wave’s stomach.
I interrupted him.  “Ryan, the Titanic collided with an iceberg.”
“Grandma,” the seven year old admonished me, “my story is fiction.”

On Thursday, the rainy day, and also traditionally macaroni day, I got to play Ma again, by making my famous meatballs and gravy.

Vacations like this one are special. Having whole days and nights with my children, gave me a glimpse into their lives that a weekly phone call or occasional visit could never do.  Rather than a Facebook blurb or a brief text,  we were able to have unhurried, extended, sometimes personal and in depth conversations.

Although, Ross and I do enjoy our laid-back, unscheduled, not having to be or do, lifestyle,  I realize, especially after such a vacation,  that I do sometimes melancholically suffer from a little bit of an empty nest


  1. Sounded like a nice vacation; very relaxful! Great pictures of the family! I think all of us moms have trouble dealing with the empty nest. I wonder with the family of quail that have been around here how do the mom and dad decide its time for them to be on their own and do they have all 16 leave the nest at the same time?


    1. It was a very nice vacation. I am curious about the quail also. You’ll have to let us know.

  2. Sounds like a lovely vacation, something to be remembered in years to come. Perhaps it should be an annual event?

    1. It was one of the best vacations. We have done this before and hopefully there will be more to come.

  3. I love those types of vacations. Glad you had a relaxing time.