A Deserted Nest

shutterfly.com


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.

One Side of Empty Nest Coming Up

empty nestIn two years, DH and I will become empty nesters. The Kid will be going off to college. Because she is an only child, there is no other kid left behind to help retain our status of Full Nesters. Is that what they call that? If not, I just made it up. Catchy, isn’t it? Feel free to use it.

First of all I have this to say: WHERE THE HELL DID THE TIME GO? That cute little girl who looked up at me with those adorable blue eyes and blonde ponytails now looks down at me (yes, she is nearly 2 inches taller than I am) with now beautiful blue eyes. Gone are the ponytails, replaced by long blonde locks.

Needless to say, I pretty much blinked three times and here we stand. I was warned about children making time go by, but I never fully appreciated it until it happened to us.

Last week, as you know, The Kid went off for a week on a mission trip far away. I cried as I was hugging her good-bye because all I could think of was, “what am I going to do without you? How am I going to manage not seeing you around for a whole, entire week? Not able to communicate because cell phones are off-limits during the day? Who will empty the dishwasher?” That last one is particularly true, because quite honestly, I really hate emptying the dishwasher. I just do.

She will be back in a couple of hours. Yes, it was odd not having her around. I missed her. I did. But there was one thing I realized as the week went by…I am going to be just fine. I spent a couple of days with a dear friend of mine who I don’t have the chance to see very often because she lives a couple of hours away. That was a bonus.

But what was even better was spending one-on-one time with DH. Although I always pretty much have known this, we have something in common besides love. It’s called like. We like each other and had a great time tooling around in the jeep, or on the boat, having dinner together whether it was at home or out. We could canoodle without closing and locking the door as if it were Fort Knox. Walk around in the nude if we so chose to.

I will be so happy to see her when she gets home. I can’t wait to spend time catching up with her on her week and ours. I’m not sure I’m completely 100% ready for her to leave for good, but I do know this: I will be just fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get dressed. 😉

Growing Up Too Fast

“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone.  Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am?  Because The Kid was flying the coop.  Spreading her wings.  Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week.  Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps.  All for the good of humanity.

It will be a great experience.  But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me.  Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.

Sure, there are chaperones going.  One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still.  I won’t be there to remind her about stuff.  You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.

I won’t be there.  Period.  I am relinquishing control.  I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready.  What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?

I guess DH and I did good.  She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been.  She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.

So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry.  I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her.  My baby is growing up.  In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.

This one will do just fine.
This one will do just fine.