Empty Nest: What’s Wrong with this Picture?

A Grown and Flown friend writes: Ever since our older daughter left for college, there has been something downright wrong at our dinner table. It’s not just because I am a Libra and crave balance and symmetry.  And it’s not because I’m really bad at math and can’t divide a recipe into three-fourths. There is a hole, an emptiness, a level of disquiet to which I still have not adjusted. We are almost in an empty nest.

dining room for 4, empty nest, empty nest kitchen

On the flip side, younger daughter in chair #3 has become quite the conversationalist. I’ve learned more about her during these past two years than I did in her first sixteen! She is also much more pleasant at dinnertime given that each meal is almost always her favorite, as she no longer needs to indulge her sister’s appetite for the weird and the vegetarian.

And yet, when sister does return during school vacations, there is something oh so right about our dinner table.  And it’s not just the balance and symmetry.  The hole is filled, albeit sometimes with bickering siblings, and it’s as though the stars are once again aligned and we are all in our rightful places.

So what about next year, when my husband and I will be dining a-deux as our younger daughter heads off to college and we will find ourselves in a total empty nest?  Will we need to move our seats (we currently sit diagonally across from one another – a throwback to the era when our daughters could not sit directly across as they would kick each other under the table?)  If so, which side shall we choose? Though I am certain the adjustment will be monumental, at the very least, the math will be a lot easier!

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