In the last six months, my son started college about a five hours’ drive away and my daughter moved in with her boyfriend. My husband and I are now semi-empty nesters. Not permanent empty nesters–just…semi.
Every time we get into a groove that works for the two of us being alone, my son will come home for a week or two or my daughter and her guy will stop by to do laundry and have dinner with us. Then the hubby and I scramble to make sure there’s enough food in the pantry, that we’ll be home on time to see them, and we always wind up going to bed while they’re still up, watching television or hanging out with friends in the kitchen.
There are perks, though, to this new phase in our lives. I no longer have to sit through television shows or movies I have no interest in watching to appease my children (I don’t think I’ll ever get the SpongeBob SquarePants theme out of my head). Creating meals for two adults, who usually aren’t picky about a quick soup and sandwich at eight pm, is a lot easier. No racing through a meal to make a practice or racing to get home so one of the kids can take my car to work. I sleep better since I don’t have to listen for them to come home by curfew. I only have to fight my guy for bathroom rights in the morning. My preset radio stations and the volume, as well as the position of my driver’s seat, hasn’t changed overnight.
Yet, much as I love that my kids have grown up and begun to live semi-independently (there’s that semi word again), there’s an odd sadness to it as well. I’m still not used to coming home from work to be greeted by only the dog. I feel guilty when I make plans to meet my husband somewhere after work without going home first–until I remind myself the kids aren’t there. This was the first year my son had a birthday where I didn’t bake him the special cake he requested. The house is too quiet. And too clean.
It’s our new normal, and what scares me is knowing that once I get used to this normal, the next stage will occur and I’ll be adjusting all over again. I guess that’s life. Right?