Monday, September 2, 2019

The Empty Nest

I’m an empty nester now. Both girls are away at college—so far, both seem happy—and the house is big and quiet with just my husband and myself (and the dog, who doesn’t bark). We frequently pause during the day and stare at each other, joke about still liking each other, and wonder what our kids are doing.

We’ve been temporary empty nesters for years each summer while our kids were away at camp. Those summers were filled with activities and honey-do lists, and we jammed as much as possible into those seven weeks since we knew they’d be short-lived. 

But this time, it’s going to be our new normal. I’ll admit to being nervous. I haven’t been in a situation where my world didn’t revolve around my kids in almost twenty-one years. But I’m also excited, because I get to rediscover myself.

At first, I was creating lists in my head of all the things I wanted to do—clean out closets and bathrooms and stuff. Write. Visit people. But then I realized something. Entering this phase of my life isn’t just about what else there is to do. It’s also about who I am. It’s my chance to rediscover myself now that I’m older, supposedly more mature, and aware of who I am and who I want to become.  It’s the time for my husband and I to redefine our relationship as a couple, rather than as parents (not that we aren’t those, too). 

During the summer, we have our annual Rummy-Q tournament that we play each night at dinner. This year, for the first time, I won. But now that summer is over, we’re establishing new routines, like walking together after dinner on the weekends, checking in on each other during the weekdays with a call or a text—the days with him at work are long, and writing is a solitary endeavor (more on that another time). 

All of this is to say that this new stage is scary and awesome and challenging and fun. I'm excited to learn more about me. And in the meantime, how long should I go before I text the girls to find out what’s going on???

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