My Empty Nest Apr29

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My Empty Nest

This past year our youngest daughter went off to college to start her freshman year. Our oldest is a senior in college, ready to graduate and, lucky for us (with a slight twinge of sadness being that he is 3000 miles away) he has a job and will not be moving back home. So, I guess my husband and I are officially empty nesters.  Isn’t this what we have all been waiting for? Well, kind of…

It is really quiet.  There is no longer a ruckus in the kitchen every morning by my high school kids trying to get out of the house on time to pick up their carpool and get to school. There is no one wondering what’s for dinner every night. There is no one rushing in and out of the house during the day on his or her way somewhere else. There is no one leaving shoes in the middle of the family room (unless it is me of course). And the food in the refrigerator that I bought for dinner is actually still there in the refrigerator when I need it.

We are free! No longer do we worry that someone at home might need us for something. If we want to go out, we don’t have to check in with anyone. We can run off for a weekend get-away without a thought. This is one reason we decided not to get another dog after the one we had for 12 years had to be put to sleep. We were finally going to be free and did not want to be tied down. But the truth is, we don’t go out as much as we thought we would. The reasons are many. First, we are both still working so, after a long day of work, we are too tired to really go out and take on the town.  Second, since we are still paying college tuition, there is not a lot of extra money to jaunt off somewhere for a weekend, so we mostly end up staying local.  Third, few of our friends are in the same boat we are with an empty nest—many still have a kid or two at home and are still busy with kids’ activities all weekend—so getting together as adults takes planning.

I know that this is now my time and my husband’s time to do things that were maybe put on hold while the kids were home. And I am definitely busy searching for new ways to take advantage of my empty nest. In addition to working as a lawyer and working with my dear friend and partner on KnowsyMoms (which involves learning so many new things I never knew I was capable of learning), I do yoga, cook, take walks, am in a book club, am joining the board of my Temple, have been studying for an adult bat mitzvah, and am planning a European vacation to celebrate 25 wonderful years of marriage.  Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? And for some reason, I feel like there is so much more to do, which is no doubt my Type-A personality at work.

My husband and I love our long walks near the beach with a stop for breakfast on the weekends, and we are making a commitment to get out and try new adventures more often, even if that means taking a long drive, visiting a museum, or finding a place where we can listen to music. And there are so many Netflix shows we have been waiting to watch!

But whatever we do, and wherever we are, I still miss talking to my kids throughout the day, even if it is just a quick “hi” and “bye” as they run by doing their own thing. I miss seeing them on a daily basis, knowing how they are doing, even if it is only through seeing their body language or expressions.  And even though they do call fairly often and/or send text messages, and occasionally give in to a Skype session, I find that they still are always on my mind. I assume that will never change.

As time goes on, and my husband and I settle into our new normal – like we were before we had kids but now much older and wiser – I know we will come to realize that everything is exactly as it should be. Our kids are growing up, becoming independent and forming their own lives separate from us, and we are in the prime of our lives looking forward to all that life has to offer! Will we still think about our kids every minute? Absolutely. And always with a smile.

 

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