Denise Day Spencer

February 5, 2006

What empty nest?

Filed under: Home Front — denisedayspencer @ 3:52 am

The other day it hit me: we’re going to be marrying off our daughter and sending our son away to college this summer. It was difficult enough to take Noel to college, but at least I still had Clay at home. He’s sweet. He’s fun. He makes me laugh. The thought of losing him just a couple of months after Michael gives Noel away to some other man…well, I’ve decided that’s a little too much empty nest for me.

So I’m rebelling. I’m refusing. I have a plan.

I will replace Clay with another teenage boy a year or two younger. It must be someone with a sweet disposition and a good sense of humor, like Clay. Being smart, cute and talented wouldn’t hurt, either. Actually, I’ve already got one picked out. I shall cleverly conceal his true identity by calling him “Joe.”

Joe already knows and likes us. He’s a friend of Clay’s, and he’s been in our home many times. He even thinks our family is way cool. The question is, how do I get Joe to leave his family and join ours?

I’ve considered kidnapping him. But we and Joe’s parents all live and work in the same tiny area. And they’re smart people. You know, the educated type. They’d be onto me in no time.

So I thought about taking the legal route. We have two lawyers in our church. Surely one of them would take my case. But then a bitter custody battle would ensue, and that would tear our small community apart. I wouldn’t mind that so much, except Joe could get hurt. I don’t want to emotionally scar him for life as I wrestle him from the arms of his loving parents.

I’ve even contemplated taking Joe by force. But I don’t have a weapon, and his dad is a black belt in chiropractic medicine. He could break my neck before I could say, “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” [Groucho Marx]

No, this can’t be forced. Joe will have to freely decide that he wants to live with us.

In any hunt, it’s important for the hunter to know his prey. And I know Joe’s one, true weakness: carbohydrates. The trap for this young man was set long ago when I, quite by accident, discovered that his Achilles’ heel is homemade bread…and I have a bread machine. [sound of evil laugh]

For months I have been baiting, hooking and slowly–ever so slowly–reeling Joe in. Like the White Witch with her Turkish Delight, I have tempted him with challah. I have tantalized him with kuchen. I have tamed him with homemade pizza. The last time he ate pizza with us, I gave Joe a ride home later that evening. As he reached for the door handle to get out of the car, I surprised him with three leftover pieces of pizza wrapped in foil. “You’re an angel!” he exclaimed as he hopped out and headed for his house.

His house, where his days are numbered.

I’ll keep you posted. Right now I need to go buy more yeast.



  1. Oh I get this one. I wish I didn’t. We have three kids ages 22, 19 and 18. In the space of two weeks we went from all three home to two of them moved away and the third working full time and never home. It felt over in a blink of an eye. There are lots of things about it that I like but there are also days when I really, really wish we could do it all over again.

    Comment by Hope — February 6, 2006 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  2. Good plan. It’ll get you through til the grandkids come along!

    Comment by BDD — February 11, 2006 @ 7:59 am | Reply

  3. brass door handles are very elegant looking that is why we always use them at home ~;:

    Comment by Acne Health Remedy · — November 14, 2010 @ 7:09 am | Reply

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