Emptying my nest: Part Two
Updated: September 11, 2012 10:48AM
You know, I very rarely do a two-part column, but I somehow feel compelled to offer a follow-up to my last column about recently joining the ranks of “empty nester-hood.” I can either call this one, “Empty Nesting: Part Two,” or to more appropriately describe the past few weeks, “Emptying My Nest: Part Purge, Part Pitch.”
Now, this is a month when I should be unwinding from all the chaos of getting one daughter off to life in the city and another daughter off to life in college, when time outside of work should be spent planning catch-up lunches and shopping excursions with girlfriends. When I should be relaxing on the patio after dinner each night with my husband, pondering our return to daily couplehood. Instead, I’ve been obsessed with de-cluttering, purging and pitching every magazine-filled corner of my kids’ bedrooms, makeup-ridden bathrooms, receipt-stuffed drawers and anything else they won’t notice missing from our basement or other crammed storage space. So, why now?
First of all, because no one’s home to argue with me about what stays and what goes. Did you ever notice how territorial girls become about a dusty catalog from 2008 when it’s sitting in their garbage can? Or how they suddenly can’t live without a shirt with the tags still on from three years ago when I threaten that it’ll find its way to my closet if not worn soon?
Second, I’ve sort of been feeling like a pregnant mom on bed rest who, from her horizontal vantage point on the couch, sees every dust-bunny that went undetected until life slowed to a screaming halt and now can’t stand the everyday clutter that two weeks ago simply prompted her to shut a bedroom door or two.
I’ve even tackled organizing our attic. Now in our house, the attic is part holiday decorations in Rubbermaid containers, and part keepsakes in Rubbermaid containers, and both categories are basically unpitchable. Somehow, if a household item or childhood memento has made its way to our attic, it’s either labeled for seasonal use or labeled for a permanent place in the Malin family archives. I get territorial about old school art projects, and goodness knows you can never have too many boxed up “Clifford the Big Red Dog” books waiting for your future grandchildren.
I must acknowledge that my husband actually helped me the first weekend of my pitch and purge rampage, but quickly transitioned back to a horizontal position on the couch, a husband not on bed rest but nevertheless shaking his head at my obsession with dust-bunny-causing corners on which he’d probably still be OK shutting a few bedroom doors.
So, when the kids call, how do I hide the fact that our house weighs a lot less since they’ve been gone? What do I tell them I’ve been doing? It must be something they’d really believe, right? Hmmm. How about going to lunch with girlfriends? Planning shopping excursions? Sitting on the patio with dad happily pondering life as a couple? Well, yes, yes, and no. They might be out of the house, but they’re not out of touch with the reality of mom and dad’s empty nester-hood.
Lake Forester columnist Maria Malin can be reached at email@example.com