Unlike other empty nesters we’ve talked to over the past week, we have not been jumping for joy, nor have we been immediately renovating bedrooms to make spaces that are suited to our new lifestyle (and to discourage children from moving home)…no, we’ve been quietly contemplative about this new “season” in our life. We haven’t quite embraced it yet, but we haven’t been depressed either.
Now don’t get me wrong…I LOVE each and every one of my children, even the son and son-in-law, who spend more time in my fridge than they do talking to me 🙂 I adore my two girls, even though the youngest one still has what I would call a condemned bedroom and bathroom that still needs her attention before I will call her officially moved out; and the oldest one still sneaks snacks from my cupboard after each visit. She gets away with it because she is only weeks away from delivering our second grandbaby 🙂
Still, it is decidedly pleasant to have the house to ourselves, my husband and I, and to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with having an empty nest (house).
Here are a few things my husband and I have discovered over this past week:
* We are no longer confined to a set schedule each day. (We can eat when we want to, and we can eat what we want to.) My menu was always catering to children’s likes and dislikes, now we can eat foods we like that they would have turned their noses up at.
* We can watch T.V. shows that we like rather than watch their shows all the time.
* We can have uninterrupted conversations and lately we’ve even had conversations that were NOT about the children!
* We can keep a neater house without clothes, and shoes littering the entranceway and unwashed dishes piled up in the sink.
* We reminisce about all the ways our children bring us joy rather than focus on rebelliousness and past activities that may have brought us grief. Selective memories I guess, and they’re all good!
* When the children call or text or show up unexpectedly, it’s like a special event. I enjoy every precious moment with them and look forward to the next time I hear from them.
But the biggest thing we’ve learned this past week, is that we wish we could have figured all of this out when the kids were growing up…
We made the schedules not the kids.
The T.V. shows we watched together were not as important as spending precious time with them.
Interrupted conversations meant there were always teachable moments.
A cluttered house meant a house that was well-lived in.
We spent an inordinate amount of time fretting over rebelliousness rather than focussing on pure joy.
And lastly, our children were then, and always will be our gifts from God to enjoy and cherish for a lifetime!