Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Cup of Emp-TEA Nest Syndrome

Hello TEA Friends!

This morning I am sampling the last of my Harrod's Earl Grey. It's the end of my cherished loose tea supply from our London trip two years ago and I'm savoring every moment with those last few choice tea leaves before moving on to new, uncharted alternatives.

If this seems like a poorly contrived metaphor for my current "empty nest" syndrome, I will confess wholeheartedly, it is. Two weeks ago, we drove our youngest, and only daughter, Rachel, to her college dorm and her new life away from home. There was so much excitement and preparation leading to that incredible day, it gave my always-fully-charged emotional being something to be diverted by. There were the stream of graduation parties where the college-bound celebrated their independence at the pool or badminton net, while we parents stared at the poster collages and scrapbooks of our children's milestones. Here, we looked at the pictures of kindergarten graduation and literally turned the page to senior prom, shaking our collective heads in disbelief and wondered aloud, "where had the time gone?", thinking it such revelation rather than a tired, old cliche.

Then, there was the overnight college orientation that ran so smoothly, both moms and daughters left less anxious than when they arrived. With a feel for the campus - class schedule in hand - and a few new friends, it all seemed okay.

And, finally, there were the trips to Target and IKEA for domestic dorm furnishings and accessories, along with the texting coordination of who was bringing what appliance to share. Items were checked off the list in an orderly fashion and we were confident we were ready for the big day.

The hour long trip to campus went quickly and we were all eager to see what dorm Rachel had been assigned. She and her roommate were designated their second choice, the oldest dorm at the school. When Rachel unlocked the door for the first time, we were in awe of what was to become her home away from home. This dormitory is every image you conjure up when you think about college, from the ivy colored brick to the large bay windows with crank out handles. These were the buildings that were erected before the cookie-cutter efficiency of the later years. What these room lacked in "loft ready" furniture and suite bathrooms, they made up for in charm and uniqueness - much like their inhabitants, Rachel and Annabelle. With their Rory Gilmore sensibilities of unconventionality and the love of old movies, arcane trivia and tomes of all a varieties, this place was a perfect match.

So, after a send off lunch and hugs and good-byes that seemed too short and insufficient, my husband and I and our son, Matt (who had volunteered to come to help move things as well see his little sister off) headed back to the parking lot where we had violated the 20-minute time allowance. In retrospect, I think the time was set for physically moving things, the "good-bye time" was open to interpretation.

The ride home, and the week that followed, was tough. I kept hearing that song my husband I would listen to occasionally on Sunday Morning Over Easy on the radio. With my apologies to the artist, its refrain goes something like this: ". . . after the kids are gone, all I'm left with is two dogs as dumb as mud and you. . ."

Well, we have two dogs and, though I don't question their canine intelligence, they don't fill up the room with giggles or ask if I would like to watch Season Four of the Gilmore Girls for the tenth time or share a cup of herbal tea for no reason at all. I come home from work and feel lost without the happy chaos. Last year, at this time, my oldest son had moved back temporarily to save money while in his senior year of college. Son number two, was home almost every other weekend for dinner or laundry and Rachel, of course, was just starting her last year of high school. Our house was running at 100 mph and we were back in the old routine of meal planning and car parking logistics. It was the most comfortable of zones.

But, now, the house is quiet and it's going to take some time to transition, for sure. We're comforted by the fact that Rachel has an expanding network of friends, is enthusiastic about her course schedule and is already participating in student political meetings. She can get to classes now without a map and is in walking distance to fulfilling about any conceivable need. She's adjusting beautifully - now its our turn.

So, with today's tea, I'm adding a bit of honey to sooth an irritated throat - I think its seasonal allergies, but maybe it will also help with that persistent lump that doesn't seem to go away.

I'll fire up the tea kettle again and then join my husband on the deck and just do - well, heck, absolutely nothing! You know, there may just be a lot to look forward to with no one here but my husband. . . and two dogs as dumb as mud!

Enjoying an off-campus tea toddy and latte at Cappuccino Cafe with College Student Rachel - All good after two weeks of college life (for both Mom and daughter!)


Lang Jeffries Jr. said...

Lady C de B,

I know how music can tug at your heartstrings in times of high-emotion. And speaking of high-emotions, our dog ran away today. Don't worry, a police car happened to be driving slowly down our street and my wife spotted the runaway pooch in the back seat.

But for that hour or so, I have to admit, we were running a little scared. I was, however, comforted by that rather obscure Elvis song, "Let's Get Hitched". A lot of people accuse Elvis's movie music as jejeune and forgettable. But somehow that one really touched me in my hour of need. Good thing that the lyrics to this rare beauty can be forund at:

So hang in there! You can face the world with a big smile and a little c-o-n-f-i-d-ence!

L jr.

Barb's Tea Shop said...


Thanks for the musical suggestions and the dog, not so dumb as mud, update. Hope you and the family enjoy reading about our Paris adventures, including ton chien, Uh-la-la!