Kids Gone, Empty Nest, Let’s Party!
For me, being an empty nester was better the second time around. It was an accrued taste. The first time the twins left home to attend two separate (sigh) colleges, the sudden quietness permeated our home, no matter how loud I turned up the TV.
I had my kids young, when everyone was in college, getting that degree and setting the world on fire. Typically there was a 10 year gap between me and women my age with kids, so when my kids left home I felt it was happening way too soon. People will tell you it goes by fast, the ones you pass at Costco, never to see again, but you don’t believe them because each day drags by.
Then poof, your kids graduate high school, and off they go to two separate colleges (aargh!) and suddenly it’s “my time.” What am I supposed to do with “my time?” I’ve always been the type of mom who carved out time for herself. I went out with friends, worked, got massages, went to the gym, attended girls’ weekends, when I wasn’t running from sports event to sports event. But now what? I guess I could hang out more with my husband. Get to know the guy I married.
Did you know that statistically 1 in 4 couples divorce at this point? That’s pretty harsh and nerve-wracking. But my husband and I had a plan. We decided to use the money we would have spent on lawyers, on restaurants. And the best part, this time we got to choose the place. Little by little, spontaneity crept back into our marriage.
Life was great…for a while. We got used to having the occasional visits with the kids, holidays, vacations, but then they graduated and moved back home. Yay! We could save money. Boo! It was power struggle. While they were away at college they discovered this thing called “freedom” and wanted to use it wherever they saw fit. Freedom to stay out all night. Freedom to sleep until two. Freedom to help out around the house only when it was pointed out to them. It’s different when they’re young and cute, but when they’re taller than you and in need of a shave, it’s nowhere near cute.
And them the light shines from the end of the tunnel. Again. But this time it’s for real. You know this because one of them is moving across the county. From the Mexican border area to the Canadian border area. I try not to take that personally, and to remember these are their dreams now, not mine. I mean, come on, you didn’t raise your kids to sit on your couch all day.
So I wanted to say directly to the “empty nest” fairy, if she’s listening. I am so sorry I wasn’t excited to meet you that first time around. You weren’t something to fear after all. Thanks for giving me a second chance.