Some people think of the empty nest as freedom. Some think of it as bondage.
Some people think of the empty nest as activity. Some think of it as rest.
Some people think of the empty nest as a new life. Some think of it as death.
I don’t think of it as anything but change, and, as I’ve said before, change and I don’t get along so well.
The whole idea of an empty nest, an empty house, whatever you want to call it, makes me a little uneasy because it’s a big change. And it’s coming.
So I was glad that last week, B and I had a chance to practice the empty nest. My dear friend, Kathy, who also has a daughter who is Julia’s friend, knew I had to teach last week, so she invited Julia to go to Florida with them for spring break.
(Nice friend, huh? Everyone should have a Kathy in her life.)
So since Julia was beach bound and the other two were away at school, B and I spent the week at home.
Because in two short years, our nest will indeed be empty, and, to be honest, I have lots of conflicting emotions about it.
I often wonder will it be too quiet? Will I have enough to do? Will we even like each other anymore? Will I miss the girls too much? Or not enough?
I feel like I need Charlie Brown’s pal, Lucy, who gave 5 cent psychiatric help to get through this.
(As a side note, one of my friends, whose nest has been empty for a while now, wisely dragged her husband to counseling six months before their last child left the house. When I asked her why, she said, “I want both of us to be prepared ahead of time.” What a proactive wife!)
You know what? I didn’t die.
I won’t say I was thrilled to have my daughter gone for a week, but I didn’t pine for her, I didn’t cry. I survived.
In fact, my week was busy.
I taught. I got some things ready for a shower I’m hosting soon. I met my husband for dinner one night. It felt like every minute was filled all week long.
And the best thing of all? We acted really young and took a quick road trip over the weekend to watch the Blackhawks play an away game.
(I know! Crazy kids, right?!)
(B had bought the tickets, thinking he would take Julia while I stayed home to teach, but when she got a better offer I told him I’d go if we could leave after class.)
It was spontaneous and fun. We talked for six hours each way in the car. We laughed and dreamed and gave thanks for our lives.
I consider last week a gift—a time to practice being “empty nesters” for a week.
You know what I learned? It’s going to be O.K.
The transition won’t be without some bumps along the way, some lonely moments, some wishing we could go back in time if just for a little while. But now I see that I also have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.
Maybe with a little more practice we’ll be really good at it when the time comes.