For the first few hours, it was nothing new. After all, Holli is often out with friends, leaving us home alone.
But once we ventured into days, it felt odd. The house was quiet. The upstairs bathroom remained spotless after I cleaned it. There was no dirty plates and cups left on the family room floor next to the couch. No one decided to run a load of laundry at 9:45 just before heading to bed.And then no one texted me 15 minutes later asking for me to put the laundry into the dryer since my room is right next to the laundry room. The red car stayed in the driveway, looking very lonely. And suddenly the house seemed very big and empty.
This is gonna take some getting used to,I thought.I’ve got a year and a half to prepare myself for the real thing. (Then again, maybe not. We may have one or two of them coming back home after college for a short time. But I know the empty nest is INEVITABLE.)
The week wore on. Ted and I went out to eat on Friday, then again on Saturday, then again on Tuesday. We left the bedroom door open during those particular times when we always had to shut it. We cleaned up the kitchen and it stayed clean. We ate when we wanted, what we wanted and watched whatever we wanted on the family room TV which is usually monopolized by our kids.
And then one night as we sat in our lazyboys doodling on our laptops, the reality of our freedom dawned on me.
“You know what?” I said, looking over at my best friend and companion. “We can do whatever we want!” No one else to hold dinner for or think about or wonder when they are coming home. It was kinda cool….that newfound glimpse of freedom, the same freedom we experienced 23 years ago before our eldest was born.
It was a fleeting glimpse, and it passed. My youngest returned and the bathroom was messy within the day. Friends came over and raided our pantry and fridge. Teenage angst reared its head once again (“What am I gonna wear to prom?” “Does this outfit look okay?”) There was noise and volleyball and track and dirty laundry and immense joy at knowing God has blessed us with a great 16-year-old.
(And a 19 & 22-year-old!)
While a week of the empty nest saddened me, it also gladdened me. I know it will be sad and I will probably cry at first. But I also know we will adjust to that new stage of life. And then….and then….
WE’RE GONNA DO WHATEVER WE FLIPPING WANT TO!