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Empty nests create quandary, especially when the fledglings want their old digs

I get some of my best material from my time with my girlfriends.

Granted, I'm down one girlfriend since I lost my dear friend two years ago in a tragic accident, and great friends are few and far between, but there's a few of 'em out there, and they keep me laughing and on point, thank God.

The latest talk was on the empty nest, something I've been wallowing in these past few years. My friend is like me, and her kids are staggered almost like mine, so what she's going through is similar to what I went through last year. We agree on many points.

One point is that it's different when the oldest leaves than when the youngest leaves.

This conversation started about how, once they're all gone, we are forced to attempt to reclaim our house, for the sake of our own sanity. My friend sort of flipped out when her freshman in college was away for his first semester and, without telling him first, she made his room into an exercise room and relocated him down the hall. He came home unexpectedly and discovered he had been misplaced. Kind of. No big deal. Except to him.

I'm in the beginning of talks with my youngest about the same thing. I was struck when my friend told me her boy was saying the same thing my youngest is saying ... that they want the same consideration that the oldest kid got. In other words, they want to keep their room as long as their sibling got to.

Well, kids, here's what's different.

When your older sister went off to college, there was still you. Sure, it was different. Sure, we felt the loss. But life went on and you were still around and needing food, shelter, clothing and gas money. Now you're gone. And although you still need food, shelter, clothing and gas money, you're not around every day to bug us about it.

The house is empty. There is an energy that is missing that sits like a vacuum sucked from another portal from another time. In short, we need to move on. And quickly.

In my house, I'm still unsettled about what I did with my oldest's bedroom. I desperately needed an office, so I bumped her out; then, when I didn't need an office anymore, I tried to recreate what she had. But, sadly, her room was like Humpty Dumpty and I haven't been able to put it back together again.

And now I'd be lying if I said I'm not eyeing my youngest's room. That sun ... shines in all day long, the plants would love it! That treadmill ... could finally find the home it's been needing! A project table, with room for craft stuff ... would go so well up there, and out of sight too!

But my goodness, we want those kids to have a place to come home to. So what to do?

A part of me wants to sell everything and start over, but that's a tad extreme and would probably cause more trauma than it's worth. Still, I do have a tendency to be a tad extreme, so if I can just figure it out, it is a possibility.

I probably need a little more girlfriend time to really work things through.

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