Once considered to only affect women, empty nest syndrome can happen to anybody. Take it from me…

I don’t want to sound like some authority figure on the subject, I’m not. All I know is what’s in my heart and in my head and after nine years of going through the single dad routine and the joint custody thing, I’m here to tell ya, it affects me too.

So what is it?

I don’t know.

Is it that hole in your heart when the last wave appears from the car window as it rounds the corner and carries your little one off? Is it going back inside and picking up toys and pajamas and putting them back in to an empty room? Is it the thoughts that run through your head as you climb the stairs with stacks of books and other assorted trinkets that are kept hidden until the next visit?

Is it the lingering sound in your ears of the clarinet as it struggles to play such classics as Mary Had A Little Lamb and London Bridge is Falling Down? Is it that feeling you get when remembering the smile that crosses the face when the notes are played just right?

Is it the melancholy you feel when you hang up the phone after wishing each other a good nights sleep and sweet dreams and warning each other about the bed bugs? Is it the sense you get when you flip through old photo albums and watch the years disappear before your very eyes?

Is it the sound of other kids outside your house and the ping of the doorbell when they come calling to ask if your kid can come out to play? Is it the weariness in your voice when you answer them by saying that your little fledgling won’t be back until next week and as they say “Oh” and shrug their little shoulders?

Is it you saying to yourself that there should be more dishes to wash after cooking yet another dinner for one? Is it the sudden uncontrollable urge you might feel to get out of the house when things seem all too familiar but you know deep inside that they aren’t?

Is it the counting of the days until the next visit and the forming of plans to make it even more enjoyable than the last one? Is it the sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when plans have to change at the last minute and the visit might not happen?

It is indeed, all of those things, and so much more.

If this is any indication of how I’m gonna feel when she finally spreads her wings and flies off on her own, I’m in big trouble. I know it’s too early in the game to plan for that and that it’s pretty far down the road and that nobody can predict anything but I do know this.

Wherever the four winds decide to take her, my spirit will fly beside them.

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