Monday, February 13, 2012

So-Called Empty Nest

After a weekend of having just Wes and me living in our house, I've learned:

     * When I clean the house, it stays cleaned.
     * When we sit down to eat dinner, there's always at least half of the food left over to stash away for another meal.
     * I wake up in the morning and the house is quiet. In fact, the house is still quiet in the afternoon and during the evening, too.
     * The laundry hamper doesn't overflow. Laundry only needs to be done a couple of times during the week.
     * Our calendar looks oddly empty.
     * Planning menus or activities for only two people is fairly simple ... and basically cheap.

Describing our house and life like this seems strange to me. But that's what an empty nest is -- strange. Although, come on!! Is it really an empty nest when all of the kids' stuff is still in our attic and spare rooms?!

There are good things that go along with the so-called empty nest (my term for the nest that is devoid of children but still full of their belongings) -- more time for Wes and me. We can actually eat steak once a week if we want to (and be able to afford it!). We rule the remote and can watch what we want on TV (if we can both manage to watch it without falling asleep). Household chores don't seem as bad because the house stays pretty well cleaned. If we decide at the last minute to go out to eat and to see a movie, we don't need to tell anyone -- we just go. And, if Wes wanted to sit around in his underwear to read the paper and drink coffee, he could. He doesn't (in case you really care to know), but he could.

I always thought I'd hate this time because our kids were so much the center of our lives. And man, did we love having those kids!! We loved the ball games ... the late-night talks ... the huge family meals ... the chaos, the noise, the busy-ness of it all. Don't tell them, but I even loved their messes and cleaning up after them just because it meant they were there! But I'm finding that the empty nest, like all of the other stages of life, is good ... and right ... and welcome. Yes, we love it when our kids are home. In fact, we hope they continue to come home to visit ... a LOT!  We love it when our grandbabies are here, and we're looking forward to filling up our home with even more of them! Yet we also love this time for just Wes and me -- relearning each other, being the best friends we were meant to be. It's a stage of life that I honestly wasn't looking forward to, but one that I've found myself seriously not hating. Of course, it's only been a weekend. (After I wrote that, I realized it sounded really bad, like I'm pessimistic, but that's not the case! I'm actually anticipating that this new stage will be a good one for us.) Stay tuned!

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