photo of white cake with candles on top

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There is one thing no one tells you about the empty nest season. No one tells you how much more complicated it is to get everyone together for celebrations. May is a busy month for our family. With two birthdays, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day on the calendar, it can be quite the juggling act to do it all.

When my children were young planning was easy because I controlled the calendar!! I decided the when, what and where of all the celebrations. And I made it happen.

Now that we have an empty nest, I can only control my calendar. My lovely daughters have their own lives and obligations to work, children, and other family and friends. And this is how it should be!

I mean how dare they develop their own lives and manage them well! LOL Of course, I am just kidding. Robby and I raised them to make their own way and that is exactly what they are doing. We are so proud of them both, but planning a family event can be a bit of a challenge.


Robby and I have had to learn to adjust our expectations about family celebrations. It’s simply not realistic to expect your adult children to drop everything and attend every family event you want to plan. That kind of thinking will only lead to disappointment.

We both have learned to be more flexible with the dates of important events so that we hopefully achieve a time together that works for everyone. We also understand that there will be times when everyone can’t attend and we are okay with that.

The Planning

My husband, Robby, is one of the May birthdays. His birthday happened to fall on a Saturday this year. In addition, our daughter in Savannah had the weekend off from work. (This rarely happens!) Our older daughter was free that Saturday as well. It seemed that things were lining up for a gathering. The wheels in my mind were turning and I was not going to let this opportunity escape me.

Considering our grandchildren are little and get TIRED in the evening, I decided to plan a birthday brunch for Robby. Who doesn’t love brunch, right? Fortunately everyone agreed, marked their calendars and reservations were made for a 1:00p.m. brunch birthday celebration!

The People

Our daughter from Savannah arrived in time to visit and open gifts she purchased for her dad. It was a little taste of how things used to be and that was a good feeling.

After some chatting, we made our way to the restaurant with coconut cake in hand. (Robby’s favorite!) Our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren met us there and the fun began.

To have our whole family together, sitting around a table, for Robby’s birthday was the best present he could have received.


Brunch was delicious but catching up and laughing at both present and past shenanigans made it even better. We filled our tummies and souls with good food and conversation. The times when the nest is temporarily full again are precious and coveted.

Although brunch had to come to an end, we carried the fun outside for some candid family pics. It’s been quite a while since we were all in the same place, dressed and ready for pics! This momma was quite happy. It was a beautiful day and this special occasion is captured forever. Thanks to our son-in-law Randy for taking this great pic of Robby and all his girls!

Empty nest family pic

It’s not likely that all of us will be able to get together again in May, but this time spent together will carry us through until the next time!

Final Thoughts

The empty nest requires flexibility and the adjustment of expectations. Don’t be disappointed when things don’t turn out exactly how you want them to. Instead, be creative, flexible and willing to travel when planning family events. You have to meet your adult children where they are.

Remember, it’s always better to get some of what you do want rather than all of what you don’t.


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