When my younger son came home one day last spring and told me he was applying for an exchange program for his third year of university, I thought perhaps he would go to England or Australia. When I asked about his choices, he told me the best biotechnology program was at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. True to his quiet yet determined spirit, several months later he announced he had been accepted and would be leaving for ten months beginning in late August.
At the time, it seemed like a long way away, but this past week his Dad, my older son and I drove to the Toronto airport and hugged him goodbye as he left for his overseas adventure. There were, of course, a few tears; his were mostly related to having to leave the dogs behind. I had a few emotional moments leading up to his departure, and as we watched him disappear into the airport crowds. I was joyful for his opportunity, but recognized that for the first time ever, the only other cohabitants in my house had four legs and furry coats. While I realized Mike was away for less than a year, it heralded the beginning of the next phase of life for me; the “nest” was emptying.
Other than one year almost 30 years ago when I began my first job and moved to Niagara, I have never lived alone. I have spent many hours alone at home, and am, in fact, quite comfortable with my own company, but there was always someone I could expect to arrive home, if only to have a sleep and a meal (believe me when I say that neither of my boys were ever lured home by the promise of their Mom’s cooking, unless it had been prepared in advance by Mr. Zehr). The coming year would see me as the sole human resident at Casa Mifsud.
As I regarded my surroundings in this new light, I became inspired. After ten years living in my present house, I had brought, bought, and acquired a mishmash of stuff. Closets bulge with unworn items, storage spaces hold boxes unopened since arriving at this address, rooms display items that produce more clutter than joy. The empty nest could be the impetus for an emptying of the nest.
The week since Mike’s departure was a busy one for me, without a great deal of time to think about next steps. Friday night saw me out with friends on the patio of a local restaurant where we all talked about the various life changes that we were experiencing. As the sun set, we noticed a tiny frog (it might have been a toad) slowly hopping his way past our table. It would seem that my spirit animal was approving of my next life transformation. Let the emptying begin.
Next up: Zipping across Niagara.