It was about nine months ago that I said good-bye to my little birdie boy and shipped him off to Pennsylvania for his first year of college. I did a lot of work to get this little birdie to leave the nest. About 18 years worth of prep and a few days worth of shopping for dorm paraphernalia and then packing it all up in two cars (my Honda Accord and his Honda Civic). Plus, like a good mom, I even walked up a few flights of stairs (several times and then several more times) to bring all his clothes and sneakers and shoes and other dorm stuff into his dorm room.

And then there was silence. My nest was empty. (Okay, he missed me so much that he did come home most weekends to see me and hang out. But, he always went back to school after the weekend was over.)

Now my little birdie boy is back home. He is back home for summer vacation. “Is it really summer vacation already?,” I thought to myself today. “How is it possible that nine months have already passed and my little birdie is back in the nest?” Technically, it is still spring on my calendar. I think if momma birdie has to spend almost $35,000 a year on college, it should last a little longer than 9 months.

Yes, my little birdie boy is back and although I love him dearly, I miss my empty nest. Yes, I do wish I could have my empty nest back.

– When my nest was empty, there was always toilet paper in the bathroom. Now I never know when I sit down on the seat if I will find any paper on the roll. And if there is no toilet paper, I never know if there will be tissues in the tissue box to tide me over. I love my little birdie boy. He is so caring and considerate of his momma bird.

– When my nest was empty, I always had laundry baskets when it was time to do my laundry. (I do own five laundry baskets, even though I usually only do two loads at a time.) Now I can never find any laundry baskets in my closet. Some how, some way, at least four of the baskets always end up in my little birdie boy’s room – overflowing with dirty laundry – since momma bird no longer does little birdie boy’s dirty laundry. (However, I have taught him the difference between white and dark loads, so at least he is able to keep his colors straight and his white tees stay white.)

– When my nest was empty, my refrigerator was empty too. I didn’t have to go shopping for more orange juice or milk or cheese or food to fill the freezer. The half gallon of ice cream lasted about a month, not a week. I never went to the deli counter for turkey or roast beef, I just kept Lean Cuisine entrees and paninis in the freezer and lots of salad in the crisper. Now I have higher food bills again and I must remember to shop each week. This little birdie boy needs to eat and be healthfully nourished.

– When my nest was empty, I was able to lull myself to sleep with my relaxing sleep music. (Okay, my sleep music didn’t always work, I’ll admit it. I still used my Ambien CR most nights or other relaxers, especially during my peri-menopausal periods.) Now, as I lull myself to sleep I also hear the beeps and blips every time my little birdie boy receives a late night text or phone call from his little chicklet. And after the beeping and blipping, I hear the chirping noises through the bedroom wall.

– When my nest was empty, my 13 gallon kitchen garbage can was usually on the empty side too. And I emptied it when it was full – about once a week. Now it is pretty full, pretty frequently, and my little birdie boy usually forgets to empty the garbage can. I think he is just testing the Hefty company to see the true capacity of its 13 gallon trash bags. (I think he just wants to do a math experiment and see if the 13 gallon Hefty trash bag can really hold 20 gallons of trash.)

– When my nest was empty, I could always find my drinking glasses in the kitchen cabinet when I wanted a drink. Now I find them all over the house. Sometimes I find a glass in the den, a few in my little birdie’s room, a few around the kitchen sink. All dirty glasses, of course. (It’s likely my fault, since I don’t know that I taught my little birdie boy how to use the dishwasher. But, I think I did teach my little birdie to use soap and water to wash drinking glasses. If not, I will have to put that lesson on my list for summer 2009.)

– When my nest was empty, the Sony PlayStation remained silent and the big screen television in the den hardly was used. The lights remained off when a room wasn’t in use. It was easy to clean up before the cleaning lady arrived. (Doesn’t everyone clean up for their cleaning lady? Little birdie doesn’t understand this concept…only momma birds clean up before the cleaning lady arrives, says little birdie boy.)

Now that my little birdie boy is back home, there are some benefits. Let’s see:

– He does pick up the mail from the mail box on rainy days. That’s a good thing. However, just because he picks up the mail, doesn’t mean I get the mail on the same day. It may stay in his car for a few days if I don’t remind him to bring the mail – all of the mail – into the house.

– He does offer to return my Blockbuster movies to the Blockbuster store. He doesn’t always return them on time, so sometimes I get phone calls that say I am going to own the movie by the next day if it is not returned. Then I remind him to return the movie and all is fine(that is unless he has lent the movie to one of his friends.)

– He does do nice things for his momma birdie. Like this weekend, when he purchased advance tickets at the movie box office. Okay, so he purchased two student tickets even though my friend and I were going as adults. “You’ll get into the theatre,” said my little birdie boy, “Don’t worry about it, chill out, the ticket taker never looks at the ticket.” My little birdie was right, we did get into the movie. Such a smart little birdie he is.

– And now that my little birdie is working at this great deli, he brings home special treats. Like tonight. He treated me to a big black and white cookie. What a nice little birdie he is.

I guess my empty nest will be a little fuller the next few months. It’s different having my little birdie boy home again. We both have to get re-accustomed to each others customs again. What’s that rhyme about the little piggy? I think it should have been written for little birdies too. Where are those toes, let me see…

This little birdie went to market,
This little birdie stayed at home,
This little birdie had roast beef,
This little birdie had none.
And this little birdie went…
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…

And when he arrived the nest was no longer empty.