Empty Nest, or is It?

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Nobody is perfect, not even me…… (Pause as readers get over shock)…..Often it is easier to find flaws in your spouse before admitting your own (ouch, right). That could explain the high divorce rate. I will therefore tread lightly as I discuss one of Crystal’s, let’s call it, a philosophical aberration.

I am somewhat of a minimalist. Give me a TV, a recliner, and maybe a couple of folding chairs for company and I’m one happy clam. Crystal, on the other hand, tends in a different direction. She likes her stuff. Getting rid of things is psychologically stressful for her. Letting me help declutter is apparently unacceptable. She is however, and to her credit, working on it.

While she has been “working on it” for some time, with only slight tangible results, the results of the last week or so has amazed me. The difference was Keylan’s (oldest grandchild) high school graduation. The plan, of which I had no part, was for Michelle (our middle child) her husband Alex, and our youngest daughter Lisa to spend several nights with us. Of course that meant including our lovely one year old granddaughter Ayla.

I can’t remember Crystal ever being so focused. There was baby proofing to be done, toys to be brought out, and room to be cleared. To my great surprise one of the, what I call junk rooms, suddenly had enough open space for a bed. Keylan and I played musical beds, moving one bed into the newly formed space and another in from the garage. The transformation was nothing short of miraculous.

The weekend was a flurry of activity. Having people and a baby in the house again brought back a lot of memories. I was most surprised at how well Ayla adjusted. She seemed very much at home and even slept through the night. Everyone reportedly slept well. There was once again laughter, playful banter, and a “discussion” over what to watch on TV.

Friday evening we went to the graduation ceremony. It was a little warm on the football stadium bleachers (around 90o F), but tolerable in the shade. Keylan looked sharp and was recognized for his perfect GPA. Liz and Brad (parents) were obviously quite proud. As for Keylan, he didn’t see high school graduation as a significant landmark. His eyes are toward the future. Ohio State University awaits in the fall.

Saturday was the party at Liz’s house. I had prepared the side dishes for which Crystal had volunteered me and was supposed to “help” with the grilling. Crystal and Lisa took a while to get ready and I thought I might get out of the “helping” to grill. I am sure it was just a coincidence that the first burgers hit the grill at exactly the time of our arrival. We ate about an hour later. I smelled like sweat and charcoal. No one told me that the two bags of marinating chicken were different, so they wound up on the same plate. Brad was an excellent assistant. I know he was only doing what he was told by his evil wife, my “loving” daughter, Liz.

The party was a big hit. Everyone loved the food. There were an abundance of children and babies running around and parents visiting. Keylan spent much of the time on the porch with his friends.

After another good night, and a final walk to the park, Michelle, Alex and Ayla left for their Kentucky home. Lisa decided to stay an extra day and steal one of our cars to get home. She stayed to watch the Memorial Day parade, which passed a couple of blocks from our house.

Now, the house is once again an empty nest. I’m not complaining. Crystal and I get along quite well. I’m also certain that this wasn’t the last time our house will serve our extended family.

Furthermore, I’m contemplating inviting the cast of the play “Little Women” to spend a night in our home. Think of all the rooms that will need to be cleared for that!

Crystal’s Corner

Last weekend was a milestone for us in many ways.  Keylan is our first grandchild to graduate from high school.  He has been attending college classes all this past year at the OSU in Newark, Ohio.  Also, I have been working really hard at decluttering, reorganizing and some redecorating.  I actually have been seeing a counselor to help me with my Dad’s passing and also decluttering and empty nest.  I am an artist, writer, crafts person, crafts teacher, lecturer and quilter and if you are any of those things you know you have books, craft paper, paints, yarn, fabric, etc.  I also collect and make dolls.

I have gone through a lot of paperwork, most of which is being recycled.  I have found some valuables such as Elizabeth’s footprint when she was born in Illinois, the girls’ art work, letters from relatives and friends, old photos, etc.  I am getting much better at letting go of items that I won’t use and organizing items I want to keep.  The girls are amazed and very encouraging about the progress I have made even before this weekend.  The counselor has helped me to focus on one area at a time, and to deal emotionally with letting go of the girls and the stuff.  If you have a situation like this, there is hope.

And a good time was had by all.


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