While sharing frosty glasses of iced tea with a friend today, the subject rolled around to empty nests. As in, “Glory Hallelujah, the kids are out of the house” empty nest. My friend’s youngest child recently graduated from college, and he wondered how bland and empty the house would now feel. I smiled. “Just you and your wife in the house? Once you remember how it was, you’ll love it,” I said.
My husband and I have been empty nesters for many years, but the adjustment was real. When we left my daughter sitting on her freshman dorm bunk in Wisconsin, I was a wreck. She looked so small, and didn’t know a single soul at her college. My husband, however, was practically humming. Sure he was going to miss her, but images of his own college coming of age years were dancing like sugar plums (aka college co-eds) in front of him. “I’m almost jealous,” he said as he started the car. He had a dreamy look on his face that I didn’t want to interpret. I knew there had been a toga party or two in his past. Whatever. His memory lane was lost on me because I was blinking back tears. Good thing I kept griping my seatbelt or I would’ve run back inside for another round of hugs.
It did take time for me to adjust, but eventually the reality of new choices seeped in. My husband and I started getting flirty at odd times, and didn’t have to stifle our giggles when things got interesting. There were no more Post-it note mosaics tracking our errands and work schedules. An empty nest is another life transition like puberty, child bearing, and menopause. Nowadays we visit our kids, and vice versa, often. They remain the jewels of our adult lives. Yet somewhere in the echoes of an empty home my husband and I rediscovered something very important. Time for each other. Toga parties can accommodate two ya know.