Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

The Empty Nest

SkyVision is jammed with kids heading off to school who are getting in their eye exams before the end of the summer. It’s fun for all of us when we see a kid leaving for college and remember when they got their first pair of glasses or got fit for contacts for the first time. The chat with their parents is a bit more poignant for the two of us who are empty nesters. We both go through a little bit of that empty feeling along with those parents.

My brother is sending his youngest to school in a week or so. Randy has been blessed with two very athletic sons, and he has really enjoyed watching them play their sports. His nest is going to feel really empty without having the guys there. My brother-in-law just left our house after dropping off his youngest for the beginning of her freshman year, thereby emptying his nest. Pete was more than a bit melancholy when he got back to our house, a somewhat foreign state of mind for him. I can relate to both of these Dads. Here’s what I wrote for “Sunday musings” when my youngest, also Randy, headed off to college.


“There’s a hole in my soul right now. I know it will get smaller, fill in, but it just opened up so it’s really quite obvious at the moment. My youngest, Lil’bingo, is off to college. Mrs. Bingo and I dropped him and “Lovely Daughter” at the ‘Hurst’ yesterday leaving a packed and ready to fly “The Heir” as the only progeny on premises.

I’m not sad, mind you, nor am I frightened like I was when “Lovely Daughter” left for her freshman year. Nope, not relieved either, the emotion felt by both of his parents when “The Heir” went off to Denver. It’s not an emptiness or a feeling of a door closing, the things that Mrs. Bingo has expressed as she has said several times: “All I ever wanted to be is a Mom; I know it’s not so, but it feels like that’s just done now.” For me it’s just a hole.

Do you have a special person in your life? Remember how you just couldn’t imagine that you could love them even a little bit more only to discover that each day brought just that, a little bit more? What happens when children enter your world? Does your heart expand, your love for your spouse the same, maybe even expanding still while you add more love for the kids? Or is there really a finite amount of love to give, a bucket with little compartments and a ladle to mix it up, move it around?

It’s not that you, I, love them any less because they aren’t here at the table, there’s just less of an opportunity to DO the loving. You know, exercise the love domain in the language of CrossFit. That’s the hole, I think. What happens now? Does the love of Mrs. Bingo start to expand again, grow at the rate it once did in the days BK, before kids? Fill the hole? Does the hole just slowly close?

No teachable moment here my Brothers and Sisters. Nothing but one among you here at the Crossfit table, talking out loud among friends in a place I feel at home. Parenting at the speed of life, pedal to the floor, lucky to have a co-pilot who has always filled the holes.”


Me again, offering a little tip of the hat and a soothing pat on the back to my brother Randy and brother-in-law Pete, and for that matter to everyone sending off any child to college or elsewhere. It’s been 3 years now for me and I’m pretty OK. The holes are still there, I just don’t see them all the time any more. I do miss them, all three, I really do. But I’m kinda liking having just my special girl around again like it was BK.

Trust me, it’s gonna be OK.


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