It’s a typical Friday night. Back from an early dinner out. HGTV and wine as a follow-up. I look around the room while my husband and I discuss stuff. You know. Just stuff.
Like his dream car, how Corporate America has sold itself out, and why we would like to have Punxsutawney Phil murdered.
As I look around, I suddenly feel the innate loneliness of the empty nester.
Our child is not home. She’s off in Europe traveling for spring break. She hasn’t been living at home, except for Christmas break, summer, and here or there since August 2016 when she left for college.
I look around and it dawns on me that our job is done. We are parents, but in a different light. We are no longer in the thick of diapers, temper tantrums and middle school drama. No more homework anxiety and carpooling to dance class.
It’s just us. Two people who started out as two people. Back to the beginning. But with a slight difference: Toned bodies are replaced by lumps, and tout skin is replaced by crows feet. AARP cards now reside in our wallets nestled beside the Costco cards, and Metamucil is the drink of choice over mimosas.
I always dreaded this time. I wanted to hang on to her childhood for all of eternity. To cherish and coddle. To keep my grip tightened on that adorable cherub faced baby.
I never thought I would so wholeheartedly accept this stage of her life, of our life. But I am here to say that I do. I mean, aside from the emptiness of the house I feel from time to time. Like tonight.
I love the relationship I have with my daughter. Somewhere over the last couple of years, she has become my friend.
I no longer reprimand, I advise. I no longer have to remind her to do her chores when she’s home, she’s mature enough to do them unasked. I like that I can drop my favorite “F” word in her presence without feeling like I’m going to completely corrupt her.
I love listening as she regales us with stories of college, and her experiences living in a big city. I don’t want to say I am living vicariously through her because that sounds so cliche, but truth be told, I am.
She is living and breathing experiences I never got to have. College, travel, living on her own. So, yes. I am living vicariously through her and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
It was easy being her parents. I am confident that we did a good job and even more confident that we can watch her fly knowing she will succeed. Not without some bumps and bruises because life is not perfect, as we all know. But I know she will succeed in the real game of Life. She has proven to us that she has the skills. Skills she built all on her own.
Now it is just my husband and me. It’s been like this for close to three years. I am loving this stage of our lives and loving the relationship I have with him. It’s just the two of us and it’s a time of rediscovery. I know. It’s another cliche. But it’s true. And it’s pretty cool.