Thursday, February 12, 2009

Empty nest: A six-month status report

It's been six months since Peter, Kat, and Aleks all suddenly took flight and flew the coop within one month last summer.  I'd been dreading the day when our house would be void of our kids -- and that occasion, combined with turning 50, is actually what prompted me to start this blog!  Both were looming huge and I just wasn't sure how I'd deal with all the impending changes.


So here's a report, six months into the kids' coop-flying (and two years past my 50th birthday).

The pros:

  • Surprisingly, I am OK with an empty nest!  Although I love it when the kids come home on weekends (three of the four are nearby, in Seattle), I don't exactly sob when they leave on Sunday.
  • Towels stay hung up for more than a few hours and I'm not continuously picking them up off the floor or constantly washing loads of 22 towels.  This is very nice.
  • The house stays clean.  I am not constantly finding dirty dishes on the coffee table in front of the TV or hoodies on every chair and banister.
  • Our grocery bill has diminished significantly.  But I'm not fooled because I know we're still paying for their food while they're in college.  Difference is, I'm not doing the grocery shopping!
  • Tom and I are really enjoying our time together again.  This is definitely a whole new phase of our marriage and I, for one, am really enjoying it!  We talk more and spend more relaxed, focused time together.  As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I'm falling in love all over again.
  • The house is quiet at 2 AM.

The cons:

  • It's just too damn quiet sometimes! 
  • Dinners are sooo different without everyone sitting around the table, bantering.  This is, I think, the biggest change and the hardest thing to get used to.
  • Not only do we miss the activity of the kids being around, we miss the activity of their friends being around!  It wasn't uncommon to have 10 teens here for an evening -- and we actually enjoyed that because many of the kids' friends also became our buddies, too.
  • Letting go.  OK, so this can also be seen as a "pro," perhaps, but it's hard not to be as connected anymore.  It's weird not to connect with each kid everyday, knowing (generally, anyway) what's going on in their lives.  Just weird, weird, weird not to have that piece of it!

I have to say that I'm dealing with empty nest far better than I thought I would and that I actually like quite a few aspects of it.  It's not gloom and doom by any means and actually, it even seems to have brought some light -- and lightness -- into our lives.

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Gail - Fort Rock Glimpses said...

Oh my gosh! I can really relate to that empty nest thing. I have three kids and when the two older ones left it took some adjusting, but that is how it adjusting. But when my last one left the nest, and we dropped him off at college in southern California, I sobbed inconsolably for miles as we headed home. My sudden strong feelings were unexpected and I felt like an idiot, but with ALL of them gone it was a BIG change. But like you, I have quite happily adjusted to a quieter life.

Goofball said...

glad to hear it's not so depressing as you feared it to be!

Betsy said...

I just love reading that you're falling in love all over again! :-)

jennifer said...

Are the kids on Twitter? That would be a way to follow the minutiae of their daily lives now.

Carol said...

They're not on Twitter, but they are on Facebook. I commented once on Peter's wall, mentioning something about how cute he looked in his karate outfit when he was 5. After his embarrassment, I volunteered never to comment on my kids' statuses again (but I still read them!). :-)


Margaret said...

I would agree with the pros especially--but I would add more cons. I really miss the day to day interaction, although NOT the mess. However, it is our new life and we have to make the best of it, right?

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