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Playing With: Empty Nest
Basic Trope: A character starts a new chapter of life as his/her children have grown up and left the house.
  • Straight: Alice misses her children and has no idea what to do with her newfound free time once the youngest has left.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Alice looks into her childrens' old bedrooms for a few wistful seconds before turning them into a computer room, a home gym, and a den, respectively.
  • Justified:
    • A large part of Alice's identity is being The Mother. Now that the kids are not kids anymore and don't need her, she feels like she's lost that sense of purpose.
    • Alice misses the kids, and the happy memories (and those memories that maybe weren't so happy at the time, such as when Billy discovered his artistic side...and the newly-painted wall, but are now something to look back on and laugh at)
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Alice should, by all rights, be an Empty Nester by now, but her adult children have yet to leave the house.
    • Alice calls and emails her adult children every day, several times a day, sometimes to say hi, sometimes to nag.
    • Alice looks forward to being able to have the kids' old rooms back, all the peace and quiet, and the ability to have sex with Bob in the living room.
    • Alice adopts a puppy, or starts doing some volunteer work that involves kids, or embraces a new identity known as Grandma.
    • The kids have not left the house permanently, they are just at summer camp, boarding school, college, etc.
    • The kids are still living with Alice.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Alice and Bob intervene and kick their kids out of the house, and kind of regret it.
    • Because she really does miss them and worry about how they'll survive without her.
    • But then in the "peace and quiet", she remembers life with the kids and gets wistful.
    • None of those things (even grandchildren) replace her children and raising them.
    • Alice still misses the kids.
    • They are teenagers, and they spend a lot of time in their rooms or hanging out with their peers, and can be a bit moody, and Alice feels a bit lost and alienated.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig Zagged: Some days Alice misses the kids, other times she doesn't.
  • Averted:
    • Alice's children are still at home.
    • Alice, whether by chance or by choice, has no children.
  • Enforced: Truth in Television, Rule of Drama
  • Lampshaded: "It's almost too quiet without the kids here."
  • Invoked: The youngest of Alice's children has finally gone off to college...and made new friends and found an apartment to live in.
  • Exploited:
    • An apartment or condo complex markets itself to older adults whose children have grown up, now that they have less (or no) need of all that extra space.
    • Billy is away at college and dating a Hard-Drinking Party Girl...and spent all his money on her. He tries to make Alice and Bob miss him so they'll worry and send him more money (and not fret about his appalling GPA).
  • Defied: Alice and Bob take up new hobbies and go on vacations and do all the things they couldn't do when they had Children in Tow.
  • Discussed: "So, what's it like not having kids around?"
  • Conversed: ???

It's so quiet without the kids here...

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