It’s a Beautiful Day in the Empty Nesterhood. You watch out your bay window as the last Lexus and long jag cruises past and your neighborhood empties out to go to the office, lake, beach and mountains. Having the morning off, you haul your empty nester sandwich self out to go for a walk. You don’t even take the dog with you–the poor thing is now even older than you are and has heart and back problems; you hope that it’s not a precursor of things to come for yourself. And the other neighborhood dogs aren’t even out, they are old and tired and sleeping inside the houses or in the vacationing cars. Where are all of your homies? They are all at work, or leaving town.
Newspapers collect in the driveways and in the manicured yards. You inhale the warm smell of ChemLawn. What happened to the go-carts, wagons, scooters, bikes, go-carts, Jeeps, Jettas, Pathfinders? The toys were given away over the years, the cars now parked on campuses and in apartment parking lots.
You don’t even spot a stroller. Where are all of the toys in the yards? You don’t see the old prevalent green turtle-shaped sandboxes–much less the errant shovel, nerf gun, deflated basketball and dog-chewed shuttlecock sitting in the yard.
No cars drive by, only lawn care trucks barreling past going 85 mph and careening around the cul de sacs. A new mom drives by in a minivan–you don’t recognize her and she doesn’t recognize you.
A Boomerang Baby drives by in his used Volvo, having woken up in the basement of his parent’s house, and gotten himself out the door to go interview for jobs. You smile and wave him good luck.
Did your busy bustling parenthood really slowly wind down? You feel more like you’ve been dropped off of a Mack truck, and that your kids’ childhood era ended with a lurch, screech and halt.
You can feel the first hint of fall in the air. You try to focus on your walk, and the peace and quiet, and leave any lingering regrets behind, a step at a time. Truly, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
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