Emptying Nest

This month Fenna, my youngest child, has finished university with a good degree and secured her dream job far away from my home. I have celebrated her success, my heart overflowing with joy, and that same heart has mourned at one more letting go, as she moves forth into her brave new life.

It seems no time since I was celebrating and mourning another letting go, as Fenna embarked on her university career. I wrote this poem in the sleepless early hours of that momentous day to express the profound double-edged emotion – the grief and opportunity – of the emptying nest.

Emptying Nest



My youngest child, my baby

Is leaving home today

To start a new adventure

In a city far away.

I’ve watched this day approaching

And prepared as best I could

And I’ll go with her to her new home

And act the way I should.

I will not keen or beg her

With arms around her knees

To stay and not abandon me.

I will not steal the keys

To her new place and super-glue

The locks so the replacement

Will not fit and I certainly

Won’t lock her in my basement

And say I don’t know where she is

And why she didn’t show

For her first important lecture.

Do you think I’d do that? No!

I will be a nice, sane mother

And I’ll kiss her on the cheek

Then I’ll stumble through the doorway

And my eyes will start to leak.


Or ….

Perhaps I’ll try a different tack;

Perhaps I’ll find it’s nice

When my tidy rooms stay tidy

And the shopping’s half the price.

Not being woken up at five

After the clubs have shut

Might be a thing I quite enjoy.

Of course I’ll miss her, but

I think I might get used to

A bit of peace and quiet

I’ve never been a hands-off mum;

Perhaps it’s time to try it!


I recall I used to wonder

When my friends bemoaned the fate

Of empty-nest depression

Why they got in such a state;

But the change from being full-time mum

To ordinary being

After 30 years is daunting

And I find myself agreeing

That this is a rite of passage

That should not be taken lightly.

It requires some reflection,

And a box of chocolates nightly!

Yet there’s more than just a flicker

Of excitement as I think

Of the many new things I could do –

Like dye my hair bright pink.

I could go and have my nose pierced,

learn to kite-surf, start to jog.

I could dive for buried treasure,

I could write a saucy blog.

Eat only ice cream for six weeks,

Siesta every day.

Buy lots of fabulous antiques

And give them all away.

I could take up bungee jumping

I could have a bold tattoo

I could turn up at Heathrow and buy

A ticket to Peru

Or persuade my patient hubby

That we should move to Paris

And become a street performer.

There’d be no-one to embarrass!

But the thing that is most likely

Is that I’ll go home and be

The latest version of myself;

The post-child-rearing me

With only grown-up children

Whom I love and still hold dear;

Even though they may live far away

My heart will keep them near.

And I’ll feel my way in this next stage

And see what seems to fit

Then if something grabs my fancy

I might have a go at it.

The time’s come to remember

The wings I hid away

In the chrysalis of motherhood

And this could be the day

To wriggle out of my cocoon;

To turn to face the sky

Then shake them out and show the world

How beautifully I fly!

By | 2017-09-03T12:26:33+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Woman Undiluted|

About the Author:

I am 57, mother of three adult children, a transpersonal therapist, writer and group facilitator living in South West England. I have had my share of (ultimately empowering) challenges, including neurodiversity and mental health crises, and am currently learning to embrace the dubious title “Older Woman”- and make it wonderful!

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