My wife and I went out to a restaurant this past Friday night and got seated right away. While we waited for our food, we vented about work and our busy week. We talked about what we had planned for the following weekend. Of course, the conversation ended up coming back to our kids, their recent successes and their comings and goings.
My wife and I had a great time. We got a kick out of watching the other restaurant patrons, especially the other adult couples, but we both felt completely out-of-place. We felt like we had robbed a bank and were simply waiting for the cops to come get us. We may as well have put out our hands ready to be handcuffed.
I’m sure we fit right-in at the restaurant. I doubt anyone else even gave us a second look, but we both felt restless because our youngest son had been away for three days at a middle school future engineer, scientist, and technologist competition. We were home, our son was in the other end of the state, and our two college-aged kids were off at their respective schools.
In short, we were empty nesters for the week. We had the entire house to ourselves.
When it all began
When my wife and I met each other in our early-twenties, we soon became inseparable. In those first couple of years, you wouldn’t find one of us without the other. We got married a couple years later and we soon had our first child. In the twenty-two-years since, my wife and I have been on the run, keeping up with our now three kids.
We were individuals, but we were part of something bigger: a family. We find ourselves now looking at a new era. Two of our kids have gone off to college and our youngest moves into high school next year. We have a few years until he graduates high school and leaves for college, but we got an interesting taste this week of what’s to come.
Oh sure our kids may eventually come back to visit and even stay for a short while to cut down on housing expenses, as we hear so often in news stories, but we suspect that all three of our kids, once on their own, will more than likely cherish the freedom and move on with their lives. They love mom and dad, but I suspect they’ll all be called to other dreams.
Excited for the future
Here’s what I’m going to miss when we become empty nesters:
- Simple dirt. My kids hate it, but I love to chit-chat with them about their friends, school work, and everything else in between. I admit it, I’m nosey. How did we celebrate my son’s arrival back home on Sunday: my wife brought home coffee and donuts and I peppered my son with questions on his week; who he talked to; what he liked about the week; what he hated about the week; whether or not he would participate again in the future. I’ll miss keeping up with their lives.
- Family dinners.
- Family time.
Here’s what I’m going to love when we become empty nesters:
- The chance to focus on us.
- Letting my kids spread their winds and watching where they go.
- Spending time with my wife. Can you say tropical vacation to the Maldives? Planning out a trip to Ireland or the Amalfi Coast in Italy? Or even a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Jersey Shore?
I’m not ready for an empty house yet, but give me a few years. I’ll get there eventually.