On Being An Empty Nester: Better Late Than Never

Yes, I came to it later than most, AND I’m loving it

Merre Larkin
6 min readOct 4, 2021
Mug of milk and a planner on the counter
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

First of all, don’t tell my kids. It might hurt their feelings. However, I’ve been a single mother since they were 8, 5, and 3 years old. This empty nester has worked hard and waited a long time for this moment.

I have to laugh now, looking back at my reaction to my mother’s perspective on finally achieving an empty nest. My children were 15, 12, and 10 at the time. I played her a song by Trace Adkins, entitled “Then They Do.”

You don’t have to listen to the whole song to catch the drift. The song is about how quiet it is after your children leave the nest, and how much you miss them. (It’s a long song.)

My mother had raised five children with my father, rather successfully I might add. As we listened to this song together, back in 2003, my eyes began to fill with tears, unable to imagine a world without my children’s constant presence in my life. My mother sat like a stone as Trace crooned about how much you yearn for the old days with…



Merre Larkin

Writer of nonfiction (memoir, essays), fiction, and poetry. Life/writing coach. Educator. Marathoner. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.