Our youngest moved out early this year, leaving us true empty nesters; this has required some serious mental energy as we try to let go of the parenting side that has dominated our lives for the past twenty-nine years. Letting go is hard. Trying to wrap our brains around the fact that our children are full-on adults is hard. Allowing them to struggle through their own challenges, figure things out, and just try to get by is hard. I want to save them, protect them, shelter them; but that time is past and I have to stay out of the way and let them make their own way in this crazy world. I’ve always been more of the free-range kind of parent, but now I want to pull them back home and hold them tight.
Figuring out how to live as a couple without the parenting thing is hard (as young parents ourselves, we never lived as a childless couple – life has always centered on the kids). The silence in the house, while welcome sometimes, is hard. I can hear the Mr. chew his dinner. I can hear the furnace tick, the hot water tank kick on, the squirrels running across the roof. It’s weird. But things are where I left them, the house stays clean, I don’t have to hide my ice cream, we go days without turning on the TV. The fridge and pantry hold half the food they used to. We only run the dishwasher once a week. My water bill is a quarter of what it used to be.
But I miss them.