• Melanie Wilson

Even an Empty Nester Can Wear a Supermom Cape

This post originally appeared on Grown and Flown in September 2019. It was a different world back then...when college students studied abroad and big weddings with bridesmaids happened. This essay looks at a few problems my adult children had with "adulting" and how I felt like a superhero when I was able to come to their aid effortlessly.

Can anyone see the irony in this one?

A lovely woman I know has an aromatherapy business. She gifted me a free session to help me unwind from the stress of several deadlined projects I was working on while I was juggling getting my youngest off to a study abroad program in Barcelona.

She was to come over for an afternoon session of pampering, and would leave me with a specially curated bottle of my favorite essential oils that would surely relieve my stress.

She arrived at my house promptly at 2pm on Tuesday. At 2:01 the doorbell rang.

“Would it be a good time to grind the stump from the tree we cut down last week,” the tree guy asked.

Nothing breeds relaxation like the sound of metal on wood.

Then the first text came in from my son. It seems that someone had taken the boxes of disposable contact lenses out of his checked bag on his United flight over the day before.

What should he do?

Supermom put her cape on, and within minutes ascertained that 1-800-contacts is forbidden to ship to Spain and that shipping the extra boxes of contacts he had left home may or may not have an issue getting through customs.

I turned to a valuable resource: a subpage of the Grown & Flown website written by and for parents of students studying abroad. Here, I learned that optical exams in Spain are free, and they will even copy your glasses or your lenses if you don’t need them to do an exam.

My son and I did some trans-Atlantic math problems, and figured out that, after we filtered in shipping and uncertainty, it made sense for him to buy them there, even though they were a bit pricier.

He found a store within a minute’s walk of his Airbnb, and he was whole again.

But it was not yet time to lay down the cape.

My 26-year old texted from San Diego.

“Moooooom, Megan’s bridesmaid dress is going to be $250, but if I order it within the hour I can get 10 percent off.”

“What size do I order? 8? Or 6??”

What should she do?

This one is not my shopper. That gene went to her younger sister.

Together, we did a quick google search to determine that the dress was available at Nordstrom, where she could order both sizes and then return, as opposed to buying from the small dress shop with the miniscule sale and the strict return policy and the exorbitant shipping fees.

I also told her we could check out ebay and Rent-the-Runway and Poshmark for those worn-only-for-a-few-hours dresses that fill the closets of bridesmaids everywhere.

Mischief managed.

Of course both of my kids could have figured out what to do. And they would have. They are smart and resourceful.

However, at the end of my “jobs” I felt happy. I was glad that my kids still turned to me first when they needed help. They have a lifetime of doing-it-on-their-own ahead of them. The empty nest has hit me hard, and I am thrilled to help out with the mundane tasks that make their lives simpler.

And they are so appreciative. The next day I got this text from my daughter:

Mommy makes the world go round. Even with children in three wildly different time zones, 9 hour apart.”

THAT is why, as long as they want my help I will never stop giving it.

Efficient mom really didn’t take long to work her magic, and I quickly got back to my patient friend.

She made me a lovely mixture of lavender, lime, and many other oils, guaranteed to destress.

I will be sure to wear it for when the next “crisis” comes in.



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