I have had an empty nest for six days. Six glorious days of Me Time, Husband Time, Friend Time...while the kids had high-energy Grandma/Grandpa Time. I am refreshed, rejuvenated and even missing a couple of dark circles under my eyes.

And now that the kids are only a few hours from returning to the nest, they cannot get here fast enough. My insides are fluttery, my hands will not stop moving. I have stocked the fridge with their favorite foods, made their beds with crisp, clean sheets, and tidied up the entire house...even though I fully expect three tornadoes to come sweeping in the door, dumping bags, spilling drinks and throwing filthy shoes on the pristine floor.

As I pace the house, checking email and tying up loose ends, I suddenly have a new appreciation for my own parents and for every parent of grown kids. All those times my Dad calls when we hit the road heading north. How much longer now? Do you have enough gas? Did you factor in rush-hour traffic? I’m cooking steak, Punkin, and I promise I’ll make yours well done.

And a week before any trip out west, my mother-in-law asks for meal ideas, even though she knows by heart what her kids and grandkids will eat. She pulls out the Mickey Mouse waffle maker and the vintage juice glasses that seem to remind her of her own childhood. She ponders the many possible sleeping arrangements and makes sure each bed has its own ultra cozy blanket and nightlight.

All this bustling about...for kids and grandkids who may not notice at all. Who really just want to come home, hug their folks, and stand in the kitchen cracking jokes. But I completely get it. This nest that we create for our families, it’s so much more than brick and mortar.

It’s I love you, I know you, I cherish you. I am so glad you are home.