empty nest – a year in review – adventures of the empty nest

Monday, June 6, 2016
Debbi DiMaggio


My two beautiful children and off they went.

How it all began. They are born to us like a miracle one cannot explain. It truly is a miracle. Overwhelmed with love for these two kids, Bianca Rose and Chase DiMaggio, is at times, almost painful, just how much I love them both and want the so very best for them. If I could take any of their pain or angst I would 1000 x over.


And so it began. Bianca departed to college in 2011 and that was when I realized Chase was not far behind. That year I published my first book, Contained Beauty, filled with emotion, love and loss. During the process of that book I could not talk about it without crying. It may seem odd, and now looking back I can’t believe I would tear up every time someone asked about it. It was as if I had experienced a death. I kept reminding myself it wasn’t a death, but the natural progression of life. Still, it was hard to swallow. My story… How Contained Beauty Came to Be

So when Chase headed of to CU Boulder in August and Bianca to Australia, you might imagine my pain. I didn’t know what to do with all of the time that was ear marked for lacrosse games, grocery shopping, drop offs or pick up of any number of items, from tennis shoes, or cleats, a lacrosse jersey or cash, the list goes on forever. Although work filled a majority of time as it always has, it was the emptiness of a home, a home that used to live and breath with dirty socks and dirty workout clothes, a smelly lacrosse bag at the front door and black field turf throughout the house — it was just something we were used to and when it was gone, the voices, the laughs, the kids, the wet pools towels, it was very hard to get used to.



Adam and I even joined them on their Senior Trip to Cabo and these are just a few of the kids who used to frequent our home.


Cabo Crew 2015


During the summer between Bianca’s graduation


at CU Boulder and Chase’s first semester, the kids lived in Boulder for the summer – Bianca worked, Chase attended summer school, and Bianca showed her little brother the ropes, the camp sites, the hiking trails, and I am sure, the bars too! They had been gone for one month when we received a call from Chase’s girlfriend saying the kids missed us, and hanging at our home. It brought tears to my eyes. I was so excited! So invited them over and threw their friends a pool party!  Adam must have made 10 pizzas throughout the day! And Bianca and Chase were not even home! I prepped the pool with colorful inner tubes and arranged all the furniture in anticipation of their arrival complete with snacks and drinks.



So you can imagine, when it was time for Bianca to depart to Sydney, Australia for an entire year and Chase to college how I felt, and from conversations and Facebook messages and posts, many other empty nesters were experiencing the same thing.


Someone once said, after the kids depart the nest it is a good idea to take a trip instead of going right back to an empty house. It was very true. So after Adam and I got Chase settled into his dorm, and of course stayed an entire week to be sure he was okay and a few last dinners out, we headed off on a road trip – my first ever – from Boulder to MOAB through Utah into Las Vegas and through Beverly Hills and home. It was a trip of a lifetime even for me who usually flies. I was pleasantly surprised.


However when we returned home to a very empty, quiet and clean home that was when I began to wander. I would get up at the crack of dawn with the birds and just wander around the house with nothing to pick up, no dishes to wash or counters to clean or laundry to address. It was quiet and empty. The quiet was deafening.

So I tried to occupy my time outside of work, early at 5 and to bed than awake at 3am. It was very tough. That was when I began to post on Instagram “Adventures of the Empty Nest” Day One and so on. It was a therapy of sorts. Each day I tried to come up with something new — something to learn and something to share. From a new workout to a new restaurant, a charity or a new find like the fabric stores.

One day I really was sad so I went shopping for Halloween and created a few care packages and posted that too.

Sharing ideas, perhaps offering suggestions for others, while sharing resources, cool finds and just life.

I heard from many privately on Facebook who said I inspired them and it helped them heal too. The empty nest is a real thing. It hits everyone in a different way.

As we begin to move into graduations there will be a new set of upcoming empty nesters.

Feel free to reach out if you want to chat. It’s real and it affects us in various ways.

BUT!! There is a silver lining!

When you realize… they do come back!

Freshman First Semester.. Winter Vacation Ski Trip! I adore these boys and wish them all the best!



And you can visit, often!

Family Weekend in College, or wherever they may travel to, you can too!

Sydney, Australia is not too far when you want a hug from your little girl!


School Year Jaunts – Pictured here with the McBains ( ie McBetta’s )

New Orleans NOLA


Family Weekend at CU Boulder Go BUFFS!


IMG_2803Thank gosh for LACROSSE Season – we went to a majority of the games

from Orange County and Colorado and Arizona and back again.


We met up with Chase’s Piedmont High School Friends at U of A!

skip g and max

Georgia and Skip Hill and Max Atchison who cheered Chase on instead of their own school.

Now that is friendship!

What fun!


You miss them but can visit and visit often!

No matter where they are, near or far.

Italy in her Junior Year or Sydney after Graduation!


You spend a lot of time taking photos of your pets and sharing them with your kids!


You put montages together of your family and their friends 🙂IMG_3740

You spend time with other moms!



And attend events with no reason to get home 🙁IMG_3839

There is always more time for charity work and fundraising.

soul cy

Soul Cycle Ride for “Mexico Magic”

soul cycle fundraiser


And NO excuse for working out!


You travel with your favorite mom in law and go to new and different places!


cuba w noni

And love looking at photos of your kids! and reminiscing of your trips together!

One and Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef

me an b.

travel the ends of

You Try Things Your Daughter Ask You To

Even if you are scared to death!

try new

You Accept Invitations and Go

try new things

You Share Messages To Encourage and Inspire Your Kids

follow your heart

and their friends

and you never tire of putting collages together!

gather pics

You Make New Friends In New Places

oscar lTulum 2015-2016

meet new p

and travel with your family friends on the kids breaks

an old

You clown around with your in laws, now that there is all that free time.


You promote other people’s passions.

On the Move with Dale Breen’s Tennis Bag




You Say Yes To New Experiences

You Blog and Write Books.


You attend events you otherwise would never take the time to do.

Not when your little ones are at home! Although maybe you should? Who Knows.

IMG_3945you die your hair!

not a good look for me! But first time in my life I figured I had to try it once.

And finally

the empty nest allows you two things… one, might be divorce, or the other.. like us

you reconnect

with your husband in a way that you hadn’t in a very long time.

I feel very lucky every day!

IMG_3742Cabo Crew Kids Senior Trip

and we got to tag along!


Adam and I Graduation Senior Trip 2015


To follow the empty nest go to

Instagram.com/debbidimaggio ( you’ll have to scroll way back ).

Soon to be uploaded to Pinterest – Adventures of the Empty Nest

Once the kids came home for Winter Break which lasted for over one month, and I went Down Under to visit Bianca, I stopped posting “Adventures of the Empty Nest”. After 6 months I was healed. I had gone through the change emotionally and realized they were okay, more than okay, actually doing great, my kids and their friends. And with Facebook and Instagram and planned holidays and trips to visit, I found I had turned a corner – so I stopped that series but look forward to creating something new….


Wishing all empty nest parents to be an easy transition.


PS. Recently I was told in an email that some people did not like my series and found it controversial. I was a bit taken aback and wondered how people could judge someone’s personal experience of high’s and lows, joy and sorrow. It’s truly surprising how unsupportive and judgemental some people can be of others. I know it exists but those who do so might look inward before they remark.

With that said, I am hear for those who need not be judged.

Some cool and interesting things came out of my series, Adventures of the Empty Nest.

I was contacted and given items for my charity auctions, I met new people and I inspired a few people to even get back into working out.

Not so bad for a few months of postings 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. Warren Crandall says:

    Hey Debbi; People were judging you and not liking what you wrote? That just makes me sad. I love hearing about what;s happening with you and your family. I don’t know. Maybe some people are feeling jealous. I don’t feel jealous at all. My daughter will never go to college but God has a different plan for her and I’m loving every minute of it!
    Life is what it is.

  2. Thanks Warren! I agree. There’s a grand plan for us all. I love hearing what others are up to and learning new things. I find people and their individual lives so inspiring. The good, the bad, the sad and the difficult. It’s what makes the world go ’round. XOXO! Debbi

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