I just read John Hodgman's New Yorker piece about the wildly popular (even with cats) "Downton Abbey" in which he reminisces about watching "Upstairs, Downstairs" as a child with his parents.
He says, "I am an only child. And when you are an only child you have an unusual relationship with your parents. There are only the three of you, and you come to rely on one another for company as much as for anything else. You spend a lot of time travelling together, going to movies together, and watching public television together, with your dinner in your lap. Your mother and father are not so much your parents as they are your weird, older roommates."This is a remarkably accurate description of the way in which we interacted with the Punkinhead while she was still at home (except for the movies and TV and dinner was never in your lap). So now, when Punkinhead comes by, it's vaguely like getting together for coffee with a good schoolmate but with a longer mutual frame of reference.
I wonder if thinking of her as a roommate makes the whole empty nest thing less of an issue? Or if, because I still see her regularly, it's not a real empty nest.
I'm still bummed that she took the cat, though.