I’m sitting alone on a hotel bed as the rain pours down on the city below while our youngest daughter is at a concert. She was invited to go to this show with her youth leader from church. This gal is moving from our town and thought that a fun evening with thousands of other screaming fans holding up cell phones to capture the mood would be a great way to celebrate the times they had together. So, I drove our daughter to Kansas City for the night.
Guess what? It’s quiet in this hotel room! I can even hear the faint sounds of the elevator moving up and down. Quiet! I don’t really know what that’s like! I’m a mom. I’m a middle school teacher. I don’t recognize quiet!
When my husband and I were married, we had four kids between us. In those early years, we had every other weekend with the entire crew. The opposite weekends were just the two of us. We enjoyed both kinds of weekends, but they were completely different from the time we went to bed at night to the foods we served and the scheduled events in between. When our daughter was born, she was there for both kinds of weekends. She knows the difference between a chaotic household of seven and the calmer version in a house with three.
My husband and I haven’t had nights alone- unless you count the occasional sleepovers at friends’ houses for our kids- since our daughter was born. She’s a teenager! Is that weird? Maybe, but it seemed reasonable for us.
Of course, we’ve had dinners alone and date nights. We go to the movies together. We walk the dog. We love to hang out with one another. What I mean is that we haven’t had any significant chunks of time together without someone else. By someone else, I mean one or more of our kids.
You know what else? We’re okay with it. We know time with our kids is relatively short, so we’re soaking it up and stealing our moments whenever we can. Four of those five kids are already out of the house. Our days of noisy commotion are coming to an end in a few short years- ready or not.
We took a test drive of Empty Nest Syndrome last week while our daughter was with her high school volleyball team at camp. You guys–it was kind of fun!
Hear me out on this one. I am one of those moms who adores her children. When I see a text come across my phone from my son in Chicago, my eyes light up. When my Disney daughter calls on her way home from making magic in Fantasyland, I can’t wait to hear all about it. I’m ready to check homework or be the Uber driver for a bunch of teenage girls to the pool or a game. Turn up the radio- I don’t care! This season of life with a bustling household has been everything I hoped it would be and more. Many days were so much fun that I’d go back in a minute to relive them if I could.
But-BUT- this whole empty nest thing didn’t seem so bad. As a matter of fact, we enjoyed ourselves. We quickly found our groove of two. My husband and I ate what we wanted for dinner, and at times we wanted to eat. No working around practice or picky eaters. Laundry? Sure, there was still laundry. It just took a lot less time to wash it and put it away. Jammies and a movie in bed right after the dinner dishes were finished? You bet!
We also had conversations! Real conversations without interruptions. We talked about plans for our future. Did you read that right? I said OUR future. That seems almost strange to say. We’ve always been part of a big squad. The idea of being a pair seems both thrilling and odd at the same time.
The glimpse into our next season of life was beautiful. But- you know what else? It was just as wonderful when I picked up our daughter, and the noises came back. The radio. The camp stories. The cell phone notifications.
Sure- I like the quiet sometimes. I also like the noise.
One thing I know for sure is that I have the perfect partner-in-crime for any season of life, the noisy times and the quiet times. Empty nest? There’s no desire to rush things, but I think we’ll be ready when the time comes.