Empty Nest Syndrome is the depressed feeling parents get when their kids leave home (the nest). Parents miss seeing their kids daily and having someobody to care for. But what happens if it’s the parents who leave their kids?

Whenever holidays come around I find myself wishing my family were around, moreso than I do on normal days. I envy those who live within driving distance of their immediate families, and even more envious of those who can visit extended family regularly.

Granted, I have lived away from home for more than seven years now, but up until a year ago my family was only 20 minutes away from me. I could see my brothers and sisters as often as I wanted. I could argue with my parents in person. I knew if I was in dire straits I could turn to my family for comfort, support, money and even shelter if I needed it.

When I was REALLY poor (as I am now) I would take my laundry to my parents house to save the quarters for other necessities. It gave me a chance to see the fam and save some cash. I also would go there to “grocery shop” (aka sift through mom’s pantry). Bi-weekly trips to Elk Grove were not uncommon because regardless of how much I say I hate my family, regardless of how much we all argue, regardless of the things we all dealt with growing up, the truth is I love them all and missed them even when they were only 20 minutes away from me.

I haven’t been to my parents house now since Christmas 2004. This year I haven’t had the money, nor have they, to pay for me to go “home.” <—–this is in parentheses because the home my parents now inhabit is not home to me, nor will it ever be.

I worry my youngest brother, age 5, will not recognize me next time I see him. I worry Kati, who used to spend the night at my house at least once a week, doesn’t know how  much I still worry about her and love her. I worry she’s missing out on having her big sisters around (all four of us live away from “home”). I hate that when my dad tells me it will be easier on me if I move home, I can’t just say yes because it would mean leaving my friends, my job and my life here. I miss going “grocery shopping” at my parents house. I miss seeing my brothers and sisters. I miss being there for all of their achievements. I miss being there to encourage them when they need it. And I even miss arguing with my parents over EVERY aspect of my life.

Mostly I just miss them….and I hate holidays.