Friday, April 22, 2011

A Visit to the Empty Nest


For the last week, Geoff and I have had a sneak peek of Life in the Empty Nest. Our oldest daughter, Katie, is away at college and our younger daughter, Madeleine, has been in France for the past week with her French class. Before she left, I flip-flopped from being thrilled to have a week to ourselves, to being terrified. Geoff and I have had the occasional vacation without kids, but we've never been home all by ourselves for more than a night or two. I really wasn't sure how it would feel. Would we stare blankly at each other across the silent dinner table or charm each other with sparkling conversation? Would we reconnect with each other as a couple or wonder who the heck is this person I'm sharing a home with? Would we feel off balance in a house gone suddenly quiet and still?

Happily, we did just fine. Since we were able to focus only on each other, we did have some great conversations. It was refreshing to have the time, space and freedom to do that. As it turned out, we didn't have an opportunity to stare blankly at each other across the dinner table, because we were both so busy this week that we only had two dinners together! Wow! Normally I don't think I would have realized how busy we both are. When there is so much going on at home, you kind of lose track of the days. But when it's just two of you, it's a lot more noticeable when the house is empty in the evening. I felt kind of bad about this at first, but upon reflection I think it's a good thing. Being active and busy and engaged in the world will probably serve us well when we live in the Empty Nest full time. I don't think we will ever get to the point where we don't have anything to say to each other. And when we are both sitting down together over dinner or in the evenings, we will appreciate the time together to reconnect.

The only downside of my visit to the Empty Nest is that it struck me that Madeleine will be going away to college in 2 short years. That really snuck up on me. I know how quickly these next 2 years are going to fly by and I am already getting sad thinking of the day that Geoff and I will drive her to college. It breaks my heart just thinking of it. So for now, I'm going to focus on the fact that in a few short hours not only will she be back from France, but Katie will also be home for Easter. What a strange feeling to be welcoming both my girls home in time for a holiday. Shades of things to come...


6 comments:

Anita said...

What an exciting experiment in how things are going to be!! I am so jealous that Madeleine has been in France!! I hope she had a wonderful time.
Happy Easter Weekend to all of you!! Please give them all my best. Oh go read my blog, I had a great time at a book festival last weekend.

Katherine said...

We're many years away from being an empty nest, but any mention of it makes me sad already. I can't imagine my babies growing up and moving on. I must say, you are managing the transition beautifully.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Well, I'm jealous. You and your husband talk? For two days?

Enjoy those last two years and don't hold your breath for all that alone time. Even though my middle son came home last August after graduating college and now leaves for a job in another state next week, his younger brother comes home after freshman year for the summer. I think the Empty Nest is a myth.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

As an Empty Nester this was an emotional post to read. We are by now used to being alone but it is at times like Easter when we cannot always be together with family that I feel twinges of sadness.

Karen Peterson said...

I hope (though I'm certain) Madeleine had a wonderful time in France!

I'm glad you made it through the week. You will do just fine as an Empty Nester when the time comes.

Jen said...

Hi Pam! Thanks for your comment on my "return" post! That was the only point of the hiatus really: to do things other than blogging. :)

I'm glad you and Geoff had a lovely week to yourselves! I can imagine the coming "empty nest" can be disconcerting, but it's all in the perspective right?

 

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