I had a conversation the other day about what life is like when your kids aren’t at home anymore. The person I was talking to has a son in college out of state, so it is just her and her husband now. She was saying it’s nice to know they are good together without a child and the related activities.
Husband and I have had trial runs on that this year. With all the cheerleading and school activities two or three days a week the girls would leave for school shortly after 7a and not get home until 9a, and they didn’t need us to drive them around. That left a lot of time for Husband and I to be on our own. Granted, for the first month I couldn’t get out of bed, but that had its own set of challenges we needed to figure out.
What we’ve found is we still enjoy each other, and spending time together. Sure, the girls are home at some point, but by the time they get home I’m thinking about getting things ready for the morning and going to bed. It’s what happens from the time I get home from work until the girls are home again, when we are alone, that is important.
We’ve always been the kind of couple that likes to do everything together. And we’ve found we still enjoy being together, just us, no kids. We don’t do anything exciting, go to the grocery store, watch TV, talk about our day, but we are happy to just be together. I hadn’t given much thought to what we would be like when we finally had time without the girls (and I don’t count time without the girls when I am the chauffer, so have to keep an eye on the clock); I think I just figured we would be fine. In looking at it though, I’m glad we are fine being alone.
We all know the empty nest is looming, and even if the kids come back to live at home after college it isn’t the same, because they are adults with a life of their own. Next year we’ll be driving Little One to all of her activities, but only for a year and a half. Then she gets her driver’s license and we are already talking about taking a dance or cooking class. I’ve always wanted to take a dance class with Husband, but we haven’t had the time (or money).
Husband and I adore the girls, and know we are going to miss Oldest One when she leaves for college, and don’t even think about Little One getting that old. At the same time, we have our plans and dreams for when the girls are adults and living their lives. Sure, we hope the girls and their spouses might want to take a vacation with us once in a while, and we hope they want to celebrate holidays with us, and enjoy doing things with us. But we also want to enjoy each other, and doing things together, and traveling to all the places I’ve never been. I think this is one of the hardest stages of parenting…letting the kids go while living the rest of our lives.