This has been an interesting week. I am learning about empty nesting. I guess we are not really empty nesters yet since our youngest is just away at college and he will be back under our roof in a matter of weeks. However, our second son is now established in his job and will be moving out in a few weeks. He has been away on business this past week so it has only been myself, my husband and the two dogs at home. A preview of days to come before too long.
It is most noticeable at dinner time. We have eaten as a family more nights than we didn't for decades now. The table is set and food is passed. Suddenly, I am faced with the prospect of cooking for two. Our table looks very lonely with just two place settings. I have set the table and cooked meals for other people for so long, that I don't know quite what to do when I am cooking for my own tastes. I have modified meals to account for the child who doesn't like nuts, the child who doesn't like chocolate, the child who won't eat green vegetables (ground up zucchini has been hidden in everything from meatloaf to spaghetti sauce), and the child who is not crazy about fish. How do I adjust the quantities to accommodate two adults who don't eat near as much as our kids?
And then this morning, I found myself eating a leisurely breakfast alone since my husband was out and about with errands. Oh my! I started to just grab any old plate and a to-go mug of coffee and eat my meal while I was multitasking. Then I decided to slow down. I don't have a deadline. I don't have kids about to come in the door. I have no "did you do this" questions to prepare. I don't have to race to get my laundry done because someone else is waiting for the washing machine. So I pulled out a matching plate and mug, and served myself breakfast just like I would serve others. I sat down at my table illuminated by spring sunshine and enjoyed the stillness.
This quiet house is going to be something to get used to. I am happy to see my children launch, but having even one child in the house gives me a focus that is very different than when I have no children in the house. It is not like I have nothing to do with my children. We talk frequently and I still feel a part of their lives. I really don't have any epiphanies or words of wisdom about this new season of life. It is very different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. Time to learn and adapt to this new phase in my vocation as wife and mother.