Empty Nesterhood Starts in Aspen

maroon bells, aspen.jpgEmpty Nesterhood Starts in Aspen

 

Dear Kids,

As you are aware, Dad and I went on to Aspen for 3 days after dropping your brother off at CU Boulder to begin our life as empty nesters.

While driving the most majestic Route 70 through the Rocky Mountains, with Dad reminding me to look up at the mountains to find the long haired sheep vs. my facebook posts, we decided to stop at Hanging Lake to do our first climb.

The sign said “strenuous hike” which immediately turned me off. Dad changed into his hiking boots, while I lazily remained in my new black Nike Air’s on, thinking if it were too strenuous I’d blame my shoes and turn back. That’s exactly what I did 5 minutes into the hike, as my shoes were slipping on the rocks (the whole climb was a giant step ladder of rocks) and my quads were starting to ache. I went back to the shaded parking lot and did some yoga stretches for about 1 hour til Dad returned in record time (the hike is supposed to take 2 hours). I guess his working out two days a week with a trainer for 3 years paid off.

Aspen was a dream come true. Hollywood-set mountain backdrops, designer stores, gorgeous architecture, and gourmet food. What could be better?

Next day we used the free hotel bikes with those fat tires to follow the Rio Grande bike path down hill towards Woody Creek, where Hunter Thompson lived, died and whose remains were shot of a cannon. Dad rode way ahead and this time I found just a few things to complain about: should have worn my bike shorts (Dad of course did), sun was too strong and worst of all, panic was setting in as I stressed over how I would get back to the hotel which was all up hill. Fortunately at Woody Creek Tavern we found a cab with bike racks to take us back. It cost $50 to go a few miles, but I would have paid a year of your tuition to avoid that monstrous hill home.

Everyone told us “you have to see Maroon Bell’s” which is this cool mountain top lake created by glaciers. We drove up after 5:00, when the tour buses leave, happily cancelling yet another gourmet, GMO free, gluten free, free range, Paleo, farm-to-pricy table dinner night out in Aspen. Dad again reminded me to look at the view vs. my I- Phone, above the line of Aspen trees and wildflowers where campers were starting their cookouts. Bikers and hikers pushed their way up 10,000 plus feet of insanely lit mountain terrain.

The summit was windy and too cold for my blood. I told Dad I would not eat sitting by the lake, with all those dogs around, and I wasn’t even hungry yet. “All about you” repeated Dad, as he seems to say a lot these days.

We went back to the Limelight Hotel and I happily ate my Whole Foods salad in bed, while Dad went to the lobby to hear some live music and drink some local Aspen beer. While he was having his time alone, I imagined he would attract a young equestrian realtor from Aspen, wearing her gold designer slip on sneakers and high-priced athleta-leisure wear. She would set up appointments to show him some phenomenal homes in Little Woody Creek Ranch and eventually he would re-marry the outdoor loving ski bunny Yvonne and stay in Aspen – permanently.

I would sell your childhood home in Wellesley and move to Boca, where it’s warm all year long. Don’t worry about me, I’d find a rich old guy who will be dead in 3 years and you boys will have a winter place in Florida and a skiing place in Aspen. Lucky you.

The morning light of Aspen is beyond description, especially when it casts a shadow on the man I love, who is lying next to me, your father and my loving husband of 26 years. Though he may like biking and skiing more than I do, I cannot imagine a day without him by my side. However long we are together it will never be long enough.

Your forever loving Mom

Packing for College

Packing for College

Back in the olden days, kids left quickly, not slowly. They went to war, or got married, taking all their belongings with them. It was akin to ripping the bandage off quickly, you cried and then started your new life as soon as they began theirs.

Today, they leave slowly, the bandage is tugged one inch at a time. They pack to leave for college, yet leave some clothes behind. All their early childhood possessions are back home, held fast in boxes, labeled and worshipped by their adoring parents. The separation pain for parents will be prolonged.

Today, I packed with my third son, knowing of the three, he’d be coming home the least. Jared is our third son, going off to Colorado, where his older soon-to-be college grad brother has chosen to live after he graduates. Jared will have options during school vacations, he doesn’t have to come home.

Our home is full of empty bedrooms, in all kinds of states. One is firmly a guest room, as our eldest Adam graduated two years ago and lives in Boston. We still refer to it of course as Adam’s room. Nathan’s room is not quite a guest room but anything in there is fair game, as in, Nathan would not miss it or know it was gone, with the exception of his framed Ray Allen jersey. He’s a Super Senior, far away, in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain state has become home for Nathan; he’s immersed himself in the fabric of the place: it’s music scene, it’s natural wonders, and the deep friendships that are like family to him.

Today, as Jared and I organize his clothes and possessions in preparing to pack, his room is beginning the process of becoming extinct. We are tossing what doesn’t fit, and leaving enough behind to draw him home. He will come back, but never the same, as none of our kids truly come home the same; they move on, ready to take on their new lives.