So much about empty nesting is difficult and for a long time I felt like the interesting part of my life would be over once the boyz went to college. As a little girl I played house more than anything else, dolls were my most treasured toy and the thought of one day becoming a mom was never in question ( thank goodness nature cooperated with that plan). At the same time, I thought about a career – becoming a nurse, a kindergarten teacher, an accountant and finally, a therapist. Once I became a mom, however, it clearly took front and center in my life and so much about it just fit me.
People often say ‘Oh it must have been so hard when they were babies’. But honestly, their first year, while certainly a challenge to some extent, was also blissful in so many ways. I loved just being home with them and it felt natural to just feed, diaper, take them on walks and do laundry/clean while they napped. ….they were good sleepers and on a good schedule so it felt manageable and I loved everything that encompassed my days. We were blessed to have support from family and friends which enabled us to get some sleep when they first came home, to get to the store without having to tow them along and to get a short run in when my body was ready for that.
Oh looking at this pic…I do wish we could go back just for a day…
I made a conscious decision to really try to relish every stage because I knew we would only have it once and then it would be on to the next. There would be no ‘second child’ to go through that stage with again. When they turned one, I thought I would be so sad to not have infants anymore but I was ready for what was coming….I fully embraced the baby stage and felt ready to embrace toddlerhood. So this is how it has gone for the past 18 years…until they graduated.
How did we get here so quickly? 🙂 🙁
Suddenly it seemed that the biggest, most important part of my life was over….that the cozy time of having kids at home and focusing life around our little nuclear family was done. It was unfathomable…yet it was also so clear that they were ready for it…but were Steve and I? In many ways it did feel like we were. Senior year I began to be able to imagine them stepping into the next phase, whereas any time prior to that, it would just be such a distant concept, an unfathomable reality that I could not conceive of.
So is my life no longer interesting? Much to my surprise it does not feel so to me. While I miss the boyz and the energy that filled our house on a daily basis, I appreciate some things about this quieter life.
*Spontaneous hikes out back
We are blessed to have lots of land to roam on right behind our house (though orange is a must during hunting season!)
*Quiet evenings where there is sometimes NO laundry to do!, only 1-2 lunches to make, simple dinners, time to read, write, or just chat with Steve.
*Simple dinners – as above -just thinking of the 2 of us and our preferences and we are trying to clean out our pantry and freezers a bit so we are keeping it very basic over here.
*Cleaning out – slowly we are going thru various areas and cleaning out clutter – we have a long ways to go but are making progress one small step at a time.
Finally cleaned out the boyz rooms and threw out LOTS of stuff!
*Time with friends – we have gotten together with friends more than we have in several years. It is fun to reconnect and not have so many conflicts on our schedule.
Getting together with friends and celebrating Ellen’s birthday 🙂
*Visiting the boyz – we have clearly not been just empty nesting as we have been away almost every weekend since school started. It has been fun to see Seamus, Brendan and Casey in their new environments, seeing how life is for them apart from each other and from us, and meeting new communities of people through their new schools and sports/clubs.
New friends and activities to see
And of course…visiting means that I am still baking lots of cookies…
Will see Casey and Seamus this weekend so made quadruple batch of pumpkin sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies…mmmmm…
*Exploring new training prospects for work which has been on the back burner for the past few years…some things I am very excited about and will talk about more as I move through them.
So while these things do not sound all that exciting – they do feel it. I feel like we are on the verge of something new….that there are various possibilities as to what direction our lives can go in from here. I feel open to new experiences, new people, and new ventures. Some of this is still centered around the boyz while some of it involves just Steve and I and some of it is about only me! Imagine that! ;). Certainly there are lots of moments of sadness and missing Seamus, Brendan and Casey and family time, but there are also these positive things. So just as I tried to focus on the joys that lie ahead with toddlerhood when the boyz turned 1, I am now embracing the joys that come with seeing our kids grow, having time and freedom to do what we want to do, and knowing there is still more ‘interesting’ left to come 🙂 And that, my friends, feeds the love.