a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Feb, 2020

the best kind of surprises for us empty nesters

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|parenting

As some of you know, Mark and I are pretty much empty nesters now. It’s kind of weird. Not just WEIRD, to me, but it might also be weird to you, especially since some of you have been following our family adventures from the day the girls were born. (!)

Life is different in a bunch of ways. The house is quieter. And tidier. The dishwasher takes ages to fill up before it needs to be run through. There are no debates around the dinner table. We spend less on groceries. No one eats the bagel I was saving for lunch or drinks juice out of the container. There are no dirty socks gathering dust under the couch or boots to trip over in the mudroom.

Of course it goes without saying that I miss those extra kisses and hugs. I miss playing Uno and I miss our conversations. I even miss fighting over the blanket while we all watch a movie together.

On a Friday night about a month ago, I was alone, at home. Mark went out with friends and I was eating my dinner while hunkered down in front of the television. I was just about to take a big bite out of my slice of pizza when I heard the side door open. I wondered why Mark was home so early. I had just dropped him off at the LRT. Why on earth was he home?

And that’s when I realized it wasn’t Mark. It was our ELDEST CHILD. She had decided to pay us a surprise visit and totally unbeknownst to us she had grabbed a bus in Kingston earlier that afternoon. (!)

Of course, because today’s kids are so digital, she recorded her arrival on her phone, but she cut it off just as I walked over to give her a big hug. As I wrapped my lonely arms around her, the tears immediately overflowed. I didn’t quite expect that, but then again, I didn’t quite expect a surprise visit either.

I knew I missed her, but I guess I didn’t exactly know how much I missed her.

I miss her. I miss both my girls, very much. It’s as if a part of me is away from me, all of the time now.  I’ve adjusted to this new reality, but sometimes it hits me. Does that make any sense?

1 Response to "the best kind of surprises for us empty nesters"

1 | Lynn

February 12th, 2020 at 12:45 pm


Oh man, I can see this as my future in just a few short years. Between you and Allison (who’s oldest is off in America for university), I can hardly read these kind of stories because I can really feel the bittersweetness. I am going to miss my kids so much…and then I feel kind of sad and pathetic for saying that…but man, it’s the truth.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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