In the morning we drive south to deliver our youngest child to college at Sewanee, the University of the South. When we get home at the end of the week our nest will be well and truly empty.
After 19 years (!) my wife and I will once again be on our own.
In a weird coincidence, our local paper, the Detroit Free Press, this morning had an article of handy tips for couples on how to navigate the reality of the empty nest. Brilliant little bits like this:
Consider making a list of what you love about parenting and what you will never miss about parenting.
Note all the benefits of a child fleeing the nest: having the house to yourselves, more freedom to travel, less mess.
Yeah, I’ll get right on that list-making.
For his part, my dad, a retired 81-year-old Episcopal priest, had all kinds of helpful suggestions on how to best take advantage of our new situation, most of which were off color and none of which I am willing to share.
The stuff in the Freep article was pretty useless, truth be told. Like the example of the couple who quit their jobs, sold all their stuff, bought an RV, and took off on a childless odyssey of cross-country marital rediscovery. I envy their bank balance, not necessarily their choice.
Or the advice to learn Spanish, or take a class in wine tasting. In short, find a hobby to fill those empty hours you earlier spent micromanaging your child’s development.
It is going to be an adjustment, that’s for certain. I don’t know if we even remember how to cook for two let alone have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around either what the kids are doing or what we need to prepare for them to do next.
My kids (our daughter is starting her junior year at Sewanee) are now truly off on adventures of their own, and I guess that’s true of my wife and me too.
So for this next chapter in all our lives, the only advice I think any of us needs is this: