I'm an Empty Nester

The quieter house takes some getting used to

by Carine Nadel • More.com Member { View Profile }

 Sigh, whimper.

I’ve had quite the jolt this week. My baby left home. Permanently. Not for a week’s vacation, not to house sit—but forever.

It wasn’t as hard when our eldest left home. Our daughter and her fiancé moved out a few months before their wedding too. But I still had my baby. Now the room is bare except for the  dust bunnies.

My hubby was going to vacuum them up, but the belt broke, so there they sit. No bed, no dresser. Just an empty room, cable wires and the broken blind, courtesy of Toby, their Maine Coon who was also whisked out of here with his fiancée, Sam.

I knew it was coming. It wasn’t a surprise. But it still kind of hurts. 

I’m very happy for them, excited for them and know it’s for the best—young couples need a place to call their own. It was time for them to go.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m enjoying the feeling—at least not totally, not yet.

My husband and I still enjoy romantic dinners for two. We look forward to them. But somehow it’s different when you feel as if those moments are stolen, instead of what is to become the norm. 

Rather like sneaking a piece of someone else’s favorite cake. It tastes better, knowing you got a taste that no one knows about. If it’s just sitting there for the taking, you figure there’s no real hurry to stick a fork in and cover your tracks.

The first morning, I realized there’d be no one to chat with at breakfast. No literal cat fights to break up and only one bowl to fill. I wouldn’t be asking what “everyone” wanted for dinner, as it only was going to matter to my husband. I wasn’t going to put out a separate plate for the tomatoes for our salad. Our daughter-in-law hates raw tomatoes, so I’ve always put them on the side. I no longer will be doing that.

Our son hates onions and a dish called Potatoes Anna, which has a ton of the “dreaded” ingredient in it. My husband loves the dish and has missed it. I’ll be able to make it and bread stuffing again as well. That’s another dish that was sidelined because both of our kids hated it.

I’m betting if I don’t make a batch of goodies, my husband isn’t going to asking me if it would be too much work to whip up something either. He doesn’t mind waiting for a tray of espresso brownies for a couple of days.

Mealtimes aren’t all that will change around here. I’m pretty sure with only two of us, my typical three loads of laundry a day will be cut down to possibly two days a week. Trips to the grocery store should decrease somewhat as well.

I probably won’t be asked to “pick up my prescription at the pharmacy if you’re there anyway, Mom.” After all, he now lives 7 miles away. 

Our son moving out wasn’t my only earthquake-sized happening, either. Nope.

Our daughter and son-in-law were asked to interview for jobs 400 miles away. If they get them, they won’t be a half-hour ride away anymore. Phone calls to hear my how my daughter and grandkids are doing won’t be a daily thing. I won’t be able to see them once a week anymore. I guess I’m happy my husband has a webcam on his laptop; that way we can at least send them good night videos. But we won’t be able to see the constant changes in them if they aren’t close by.

We all know our kids grow up, move out and change. If we’ve done our job right, we have an empty feeling in the pit of our stomachs, a lump in our throat and pride in our heart.

I guess I did one heck of a job.

For more about "letting go," read Patricia Volk’s The Mother of the Bride

 

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