A Father Defends His Empty Nest
After a broken engagement, my daughter was just one more millennial moving back into her childhood bedroom. And I was one more aging parent feeling guilty for wanting my humble home to myself.
Illustrations by Kassia Rico
When I saw my daughter’s car in our driveway I wanted to run the other way — away from my peaceful home, our empty nest that was about to be invaded.
Instead, I braced for her entrance. Rachel, 32, the oldest of Julia’s and my three children, had moved out long ago, like her two brothers. But hours earlier, she had broke off her engagement with her boyfriend of two years. Now, here she was with a car full of boxes stuffed with books, kitchenware, potted plants and suitcases.
She walked in to the kitchen, erupting into sobs. I wrapped my arms around her, unsure how else to console her. I wanted to say that everything would be okay, but knew from past stumbles she would cry harder, as if to ask how I could be so clueless. Didn’t I get what she was going through? I stood quietly, holding her, as she cried on.
“I’m sorry,” I finally said.
She cried some more, like when she was a little kid, longer than I expected, long enough that I felt my patience being tested.
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