Empty Nest Adjustment


I thought I was used to my children being away from home. My youngest just finished her junior year in college, so all three have been out of the nest for some time. My son, my oldest, moved out shortly after graduating in 2016, but thankfully he’s not too far away. Last spring my oldest daughter graduated, and in the fall, she moved to Philadelphia, aka The Land of Too Too Far Away.  This summer, my youngest has opted to stay in her college town for the summer. It’s less than 2 hours away, but it’s the first time that none of my children will be living at home during the summer. It’s all having a cumulative effect, and I’m feeling a wee bit unmoored and nostalgic.


A city sparrow, spotted in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Sparrow

Sweet city sparrow,
does your heart yearn
for the rolling hills of country?
or are you content
in your pocket of greenery?
has city life transformed you?
what do you do
when your nestlings fly away?

M. Hogan (c) 2017

DSCN2320 (1).jpg

Philly mural

Grey and Blue

It all seems so grey-grey-grey
a low level grizzly grumble
I’ve got a bad case
of the can’t-help-its
and need someone
to shake out the grumpies
like we did with the kids
when they were small
but now they’re all grown
which makes me feel

©2018 M. Hogan

The latter poem feels unfinished, jagged and irregular to me, but since that’s how I’m feeling (off and on), I’m going to let it ride.

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Rebecca Herzog at her blog, Sloth Reads. She’s sharing a review of “I’m Just No Good at Rhyming And Other Nonsense For Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups”, a delightful collection of poems by Chris Harris. Stop by for a sneak peek!

17 thoughts on “Empty Nest Adjustment

  1. margaretsmn says:

    I imagine the two birds on the mural having the grey and blue conversation. Empty nest is real. It feels like being homesick at home. Something is missing. We adjust and all but life’s changes can make us sad and lonely. I’m there with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      You said it perfectly, Margaret. “It feels like being homesick at home.” This just feels like a readjustment, I guess, when I thought I’d already adjusted.


  2. lindabaie says:

    I love them both, Molly, and really love that 2nd one, it does feel jagged, just mirroring those feelings. I remember well, and it’s a tough place for parents. Hugs for your empty feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tabatha says:

    “Unmoored” seems like a good way to describe that empty nest feeling. Wishing you a happy groundedness.
    I like the rawness and realness of Grey and Blue. It’s quick, like a bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. haitiruth says:

    Molly, I am empathizing so much with you. It was hard the first time for me, and I’m already not looking forward to the second time. It’s difficult to watch our little birds fly away. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, goodness….it’s hard for me to read these as I am one-foot into the life you describe. I think of that term anticipated grief because I anticipate the sadness that will come. You have really captured emotion in these two poems….and that mural! What a perfect illustration for the poem. Even if you don’t feel like its finished…it got me right in the heart. I wish you a good belly laugh today. If I have one too…then, we will have not let the emptying of nests defeat us!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. srebeccan says:

    Thank you for sharing these. I am a long way off from being an empty nester (my youngest is 18 months) and it is hard to imagine a time when we won’t have kiddos running under foot. It makes me anxious, even now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s a process. Being a teacher helped a lot because our schedules were in synch–my craziness at work started when they left for school. I could keep nicely busy 🙂 Now I’m facing summer and lots of free time with none of them home. Yikes! Enjoy your little ones 🙂 I miss those days but I do love having adult children. It’s such fun in an entirely different way–and usually not quite so exhausting!


  7. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I relate to both of these poems. We are also navigating the empty nest. Our only daughter/child spend 4 months in England (very, very far away) and was home for less than a week before moving back to campus. At least she’s within driving distance now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      My daughter in Philadelphia spent four months in England as well–that was a challenge! Having kids in college and overseas has made me really appreciate technological advances!


      • Kay Mcgriff says:

        I don’t know how my mom did it when my brother went to Spain. Google Duo and FaceTime made it seem so much closer than just a short (and expensive) long distance call once a week!


  8. I like both of your poems, and I also like the rawness of your second poem, it’s edges not finished seem to fit well. Your sparrow pic is gorgeous. My son now graduated from college has been back and forth and getting ready to move out in the fall and my 18 year old daughter will also leave for a dorm in the city this fall–changes are good but not always easy.


  9. Alice Nine says:

    Empty nest is a hard stage. Once it happens, it keeps weaving a trail through the years with their comings and leavings. I think your “unfinished, jagged and irregular’ poem is a perfect way to express the raw emotion we feel at these times. I’ve written a few of them myself. I have to be careful when I read them later because their jaggedness makes me feel the pangs of goodbyes. BTW, our three left home after HS together… 2000 miles of road separated us. I will always remember the ache of coming home the first time after they left. Two have returned, bought homes next door and are our neighbors. But our third lives in S.Amer.


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