Worried about my empty nest
Next week I will be taking Ethan to his new school — Universal Technical Institute in Lisle, Illinois — and his new apartment a little farther north in Carol Stream, Illinois.
I have to admit I am a little worried about Ethan living over there in the outskirts of the big city of Chicago. After all, he is my baby and yes, he has been spoiled from Day 1 because not only is he my baby, but he is my parents’ youngest grandchild as well.
How is Ethan ever going to get around the Chicago area? How is he ever going to cook his own food, do his own laundry, pay his own bills? How is he ever going to get out of bed without me yelling, “Hey, can’t you hear that alarm?!”
I am worrying more about Ethan’s big move to Illinois than I ever did about anything my daughter Kendra did: traveling across Europe with the Girl Scouts while in high school; up and moving 17 hours away to Savannah, Georgia, all by herself to attend Armstrong State University; moving to Maryland to live with a guy she met on Xbox Live. Red lights and sirens should have been exploding in my head in all those scenarios, but they didn’t. I knew my daughter would be just fine.
Kendra has always been independent, responsible and extra smart. She was born with the knowledge of how to take care of herself and how to work toward reaching her goals.
Ethan was born with — a mom to take care of all his needs and a sister to help with his math problems!
Actually, I know Ethan will be just fine. He can read a map. He can cook. He can do laundry. He can take care of his money. And if he really needs something — he is only about four hours away.
My real worry is: me!
What am I going to do at home all alone with just the dog and the cat for company?
Talking to TED and Boxxy is only a one-way conversation, and dumping a cupful of kibble in a metal dish on the floor a couple times a day isn’t like cooking up a cheesy pepperoni pizza or a big bowl of orange chicken for Ethan.
Plus, who is going to shovel the snow? Mow the yard? Change the oil? Open the pickle jar?
It won’t just be Ethan I’ll be missing. He has always had friends in and out of our house — the days I have not seen at least one kid are very rare. Many of them are heading off to college or the military (oorah, Michael and Austin!), and those left behind will have no reason to stop by without Ethan there, although I have told them they will always be welcomed.
Next week, when I drop Ethan off at UTI, I know it will be time for me, just like it is for him and his friends, to start a new chapter in life. I hope our blank pages are filled with great experiences and exciting adventures.
– Vicki Tillis is The Fairfield Ledger’s lifestyles editor.