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Will has been on his own now for nearly 10 months. He left home on April 21. So wonderful, and yet so strange to me. Will is building his own life. He goes to his own church, to work five days a week, shops, cooks meals (although not complete meals in my opinion), and does his own laundry pretty well. He has mapped out his own stomping grounds and knows the quick shortcuts that locals develop.

We went to visit Will for the weekend and brought his birthday cake from his favorite hometown bakery. His hometown is in our stomping grounds.

He is building his own nest. I found myself snooping in his nest this weekend. I and his younger sister checked his refrigerator for fruits and vegetables. Then we went to the store with him and pushed him into buying some fruit, and I bought him some vegetables. I don’t know if he will eat them, but I plan to ask him about it. I have become my mother.

My oldest daughter, Mary, told me last week that she was thinking about moving out in the next few years if she can find a steady job. I dreamed the next night about walking around in her new apartment, wistfully touching some of her furniture and looking in the cupboards in her kitchen. Her moving seems eventually inevitable.

My youngest daughter, Patty, plans to move out in about a year in a half to go to grad school. She will have to move to another city, perhaps another state to attend grad school. This too, feels inevitable. This winter semester she obtained a job as a teachers assistant for the history department – a necessary and advantageous position in her junior year of undergraduate. She will need a teacher’s assistant position in order to afford graduate school. Her goal is to become a history professor. This summer she will take her GRE and start applying to those schools.

Eleven years ago, I told my nestlings that I was going back to college so that I would have something to do when they didn’t need me anymore. The day when they would leave the nest seemed such a long way off. Now the empty nest is on the horizon.