In January our daughter, the youngest, left home for Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music, propelling my husband and I into the land of empty nesters. Oh, she’ll be home on breaks, like she is right now, and during the summer, but she is growing up and moving on, and the biggest phase of my life, that of raising kids, has come to a close. How did that happen so fast? It was a blast while we in the midst of it, but honestly I’m not sure I’d want to repeat the experience. I enjoy my kids as young adults. They have proven to be loyal, reliable, kind, fun, intelligent, and driven to do well for themselves. All the things parents hope for their kids, I am seeing in mine. Thank. God.
So what to do, now that we are almost empty nesters, what to do? As a small start, after KM left, I cleaned her room. That was quite the adventure! She has enough clothes to start a small clothing boutique, and her scarves could cover every inch of wall in our house. Since there was no way it would all fit into the dorm room closet, a great deal of her wardrobe was left here. On the floor. In the picking it up, I found about $10 in coin, 2 “lost” debit cards, the textbook I had already paid the high school for, and various and sundry necessities of a teenage girl: ponytail elastics, cheap jewelry, nail polish, gum, etc. When I told her I had cleaned it up she wailed “it won’t look like my room when I get home!” Well, no, it now is a room you can get into without a shovel. And I’m buying a new bed, comforter and curtains this spring, with plans to move this room out of teenagerdom and into something a bit more sophisticated and usable. It’s still her room, but we can use it the nine months out of the year she isn’t here, I think. If nothing else, we could really use the second bathroom in there!
Other plans as empty nesters? Well, we thought we might do some traveling around, and even joined a travel club where we accrue points towards “dream vacations” when we book airlines and hotels with them. So far, its been handy to shuttle KM back and forth between Oklahoma and Boston, and booking hotels, etc while we are up there. But every trip to Boston is accruing points, and this Fall we should have enough to sign up for the Dream Cruise. Gonna be awesome.
We’ve also each picked up new hobbies. One of mine is this blog, I have more time to do my crafty stuff, and work on redecorating my house (a project that is never really done, is it?) My DH’s new hobby is his motorcycle. Years ago, I told him he could have a bike when his last kid turned 18, and he didn’t waste any time finding one. So now I am married to a Harley-riding biker, lol. And no, I don’t ride. After years of fixing broken bikers in the OR, I’m not getting on anything smaller than a cruising trike. Ever. So that 1200 sportster is completely out of the question. Not this girl, thank you very much!
Are we going to be one of those “active older couples” who hold hands and gaze adoringly at each other, as depicted in the TV ads? Probably not. We both like doing our own thing too much, and don’t feel the need to be joined at the hip all the time. We are trying to make the effort to be a little more adventurous, though, and do something besides the de riguer dinner-and-a-movie thing when we go out. I actually have a list of 50 things to do in Oklahoma that I found online, and told DH this summer we are doing at least five of them. First on the list is to take a 66 road trip; we have already driven it from California to Oklahoma, we still have about half left to do. As much as I’d love to travel to, say Europe, we are subsidizing KM’s tuition, so it will be few years yet before we can think intercontinental. But there is plenty to see and do here at home, and without kids to worry (as much) about, we can get out and go do them!
I have to say that during the last year, knowing my last kiddo was leaving soon, was a bit hard. Random tears occurred, and I think I had a little mini-midlife crisis. But I didn’t curl up into the fetal position, or sink into deep depression, or be overcome with loneliness because “My babies all left me!” No, I did not. I’ve always had an identity other than “somebody’s mom ” and overall, I’m happy to be where I’m at right now, with a wonderful husband, three great kids who are doing well, a house that stays clean, and time to do my own thing. Not too shabby!
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