Empty Nests and Elbow Grease

Leslie Jones' Avatarby Leslie Jones

Two and a half years ago, I became an empty nester and a geographical widow in the same month. My son started college and moved into the dorms, and my husband Kim accepted a job in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I opted to remain in Phoenix for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that our son chose Arizona State University to be close to us. What was I going to say? “Hey, I’m glad you chose an in-state school. By the way, we’re moving to Ohio.”


Besides, Arizona is home. Our friends are here; our lives are here. This is where we feel the most connected to the earth. None of us wanted to change that. So we began this odd existence of three adults living in three geographical locations, and we had to find a way to make it work. I’ll be honest – I let Kim come home more often than I visit him in Cincinnati. I do this because I don’t want him to lose touch with his friends and colleagues in the Valley.

Kim has a great job with a great company that values him and has made it clear they want him to stay. We’re making a short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. Has it been difficult? You bet. Is it worth it? We believe so. It sure makes our time together that much sweeter! We have to consciously work on our coupleship, which keeps things fresh. As a family, we have to coordinate three different schedules to make time to be together.

After two and a half years, we’re on the downslope. In about 12-18 months, Kim is confident he’ll be able to do a two-and-two — two weeks in Phoenix, two weeks in Cincinnati. I’ll still be an empty nester, but I’ll have my husband back.

I can’t wait!

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Leslie Jones has been an IT geek, a graphics designer, and an Army intelligence officer. She’s lived in Alaska, Korea, Belgium, Germany, and other exotic locations (including New Jersey). She is a wife, mother, and full-time writer, and splits her time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Cincinnati, Ohio.


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