It will take time to get used to being an empty-nester
It’s finally happened: my husband, Matthew, and I are officially empty-nesters. The last of our three children moved into a place of his own a few weeks ago.
Jonathan, Matthew’s oldest, left about five years ago, got married and has two adorable little boys. Caitlin, the youngest, left a little more than a year ago to finish school and to start her career.
Terrence, Matthew’s youngest boy, is still in college and will be graduating next year. As he turns 23 on Sunday (Happy Birthday Terrence), it was time for him to leave the nest.
Matthew and I have been married for nearly 15 years. When we first married, it as a bit difficult to get his two boys and my little girl to get along. But like anything, things changes and they get better.
We became a family — a real family. While we didn’t have Jon and Terrence home with us all of the time, they did come every weekend. Both Matthew and I relished those times.
But now that they have all grown up and gone their own ways, it’s been a bit rough on us. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. I’m sure other empty-nesters feel the same way.
Instead of feeling happy that we’ve raised children who grew up to be well-adjusted and responsible adults, we’ve been wondering what we did wrong. Why would they want to grow up and leave? Why would they want to become adults with adult problems when we’re there to help them?
I know, I know, everyone does it, but it doesn’t get easier after the last one leaves. Actually, it get’s worse.
Instead of looking forward to Terrence coming home on Friday nights (yes, even after he turned 18, he would still make sure to come spend the weekend with us) we sit there twiddling our thumbs. Well, not really. We’re actually trying to get to know one another again, this time without the kids underfoot.
Matthew and I have known each other since we were in the fourth grade. We’ve become best friends, soulmates and fellow empty-nesters. We enjoy each other’s company, and, for the most part, we can sit and talk about anything and everything.
Now it’s just a matter of figuring out how to go on with the rest of our lives with just the two of us. For a lot of folks, we lived our lives around our children, taking them to soccer practice, helping them with homework and enjoying those day-to-day activities at home.
Maybe I should look at it differently. Now, we have the time to do all those things we couldn’t do when we had the kids at home. Now, we have time to make our own schedules, make our own lives what we want it to be.
We both had our children early in life and we knew that we’d still be young (ish) when they left. Instead of thinking that them leaving is a curse, we need to realize that it’s a blessing, both for them and for us.