A holiday with a wedding with a full-scale family gathering this past week-end overwhelmed us  as we daily scurried up and down Highway 13 Thursday through Sunday, starting with a happy Thanksgiving afternoon chill-out with the bride’s family down on the bayou, picking oranges to pass the hours until time for the rehearsal and rehearsal supper Friday, regaling amid wondrous enchantment at the ceremony and reception Saturday, meeting the newlyweds for brunch the morning after as they prepared for honeymoon departure. . . Those were full, gratifying days that we’ll never relive: days to be coveted, memories to be savored.

The fellowship of family and friends blesses richly. How melancholy when the company's gone!

The fellowship of family and friends blesses richly. How melancholy when the company’s gone!

But none of our rushed, four-day agenda seemed quite so overwhelming as coming home for lunch today to a strange, quiet, empty house.  We were accustomed to the friendly din of reunion in those frantic days: running the bedrooms and baths at full-occupancy with kids and spouses, a delightfully-noisy grand kid, and the two nastily-spoiled dogs who spent  hours inside underfoot  as the center of the house-guests’  attention.

But the last couple left early this morning, so the nest is void . . .  again.

Notably, this weekend’s partings are unique in our experience as parents because this was the first time the whole gang reassembled under their home roof since they both moved out of state, farther away than ever.  So the parting was more somber, lonelier.  The only ones that didn’t leave were the blasted dogs–we’re stuck with them.

As a result, today in the still aftermath, we are hung over.  Not from intoxicating drink, but from intoxicating company, the love of family, and the fellowship of friends.

We’ll get the hang of this empty nest back in time, I’m sure, but it may take a few more daze.