The Empty Pantry

Last week we dropped our younger son off at college. He’s a freshman at a school in Louisiana, a plane ride away from home here in Colorado. Our older son is a sophomore at a college in Philidelphia, an even longer plane ride away.

Time Flies

As trite as it sounds, it’s true. Time flies. The boys were in elementary school when I started writing and sharing recipes and healthy living tips here. Now they’ve flown the coop and the pantry is empty.

Cookies for No One

Who will I bake cookies for? Cookies for no one? My neighbors? So far folks in the ‘hood have gotten a lot of goodies and my husband is doing his share of cookie-consuming as well.

Two Decades of Hands-On Parenting

Two decades ago, on Labor day weekend, my older son was born. So our hands-on parenting is now wrapped up in a neat bundle of exactly twenty years. There’s still lots of distance parenting. We speak with the boys every weekend to check-in and offer our support. And I send care packages often.

The Empty Nest

I have so many feelings about this empty nest phase of life. I was sad to say goodbye to the boys. It was a physical feeling more than an emotion, like my heart was walking straight out of my chest. Additionally, I’m proud of them, and happy they’re entering this next phase of their lives. They’ve handled everything so smoothly and that gives me incredible joy. Oddly enough, I felt relief in launching them as well.

I Didn’t Mess Them Up!

The first part of my relief was a major exhale, “Wow, I didn’t mess them up!” If you’ve met me more than once, you know I’m a very neurotic Jewish woman with plenty of stress, trauma, and autoimmune disease in my background. My family has its fair share of Holocaust anguish in our lineage as well. Looking back, I’m relieved that the work I’ve done on myself over the years has cleared much angst from our family system and that a fair amount of this cycle has been successfully interrupted.

Relief from the Parenting Marathon

My next sigh of relief was physical, as in, “Whoa! I’m really tired.” This hands-on parenting thing takes a lot of physical energy. While the boys were growing up, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s, Celiac Disease, and the BRCA genetic mutation. Energy has often been in short supply. So the second part of my relief was that I will have more time to look after myself.

What’s Next?

Before I had the boys I subscribed to the New Yorker and read voraciously. By the time I had two children under the age of 1½ I let go of that subscription. It was all I could do to read our local paper every day and keep up with the Sunday New York Times. Now I’ll also get back to my creative writing practice. After I graduated from Columbia, while I was working in environmental consulting full time and teaching yoga nights and weekends, I took a creative writing class at NYU. I also took one at Naropa when the boys were really little, just to get out of the house and have a bit of time to myself. Additionally, I’ll keep working to provide you with free healthy, low-carb recipes here!

Do You Have an Empty Nest?

Are you dealing with an empty nest? If so how do you cope? Leave a comment and let me know! Also, since I have more free time, I’d LOVE to hear which new recipes you’d like to see here on the blog!

Elana thank you for all you have contributed to all of us. Your journey is amazing and I feel so privileged that you have shared so much with all of us.


89 responses to “The Empty Pantry”

  1. I have RA and your blog was the 1st paleo blog I found that helped me convert to eating paleo back in 2008. I remember being so relieved that I could still have healthy treats. Thank you so much! While I cannot do nuts anymore due to oxalate issues I can still have my beloved coconut. Thanks for making my journey easier. I don’t have kids myself but have 4 nephews and 1 niece and babysitting occasionally is all I can handle with my AI issues. It’s amazing all you have accomplished with your challenges. I am glad you can have more time for yourself now. Enjoy!

  2. Congrats of the successful launch of your boys! I have enjoyed reading about them for the past few years. I imagine you’ll be making a lot less cookies – adjusting to cooking for 2 is a big one. My daughter has been home for the summer but heading back to college for her last year on Monday. It definitely impacts my shopping and cooking list. If your boys are anything like my girl, you’ll appreciate your house staying a bit cleaner – and you’ll find wonderful creative ways to fill up your newly found time. Enjoy the new phase. I hope they’re great communicators.

    Renee – a long-time reader

  3. Hi Elana, thanks for all that you do, and for sharing your journey.
    I am a brand new empty nester. After going through some difficult times at work and in my personal life, I took a job away from here. It’s almost a 2 hour drive, so I’ll be renting my own apartment in the quaint little town where I started work. My son is almost 22 years old and finishing College in December, my daughter is almost 21 years old and has two more years of College left.
    They are straying in the home we live in. So it’s mommy moving out instead of the kids moving out.
    Definitely some ‘mommy guilt’ because of this, even though the kids are quite happy with the arrangement.

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