Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life in the empty nest

I can go to bed as early as I want to now.

We only run the dishwasher a couple times a week, instead of every day.

I only wash laundry once a week or so, instead of nearly every day.

The milk lasts a long time.

Often, we find leftovers in the refrigerator.

I always have a car.  But I never go to Wegman's.

Nobody comes into our bedroom late at night to stand at the foot of the bed and have a heart-to-heart talk.

We don't need to pick a church based on whether it has a healthy youth group, or a clean nursery, or really, any kids' programs whatsoever.

Nobody ever plays the piano anymore.  Or any other instrument.

We wound up the mantle clock, and it is running now, ticking away, because its timekeeping won't mess with anybody's practice tempos.

Nobody calls me mom, as in, "Hey, mom..."

There are no jackets or other articles of clothing hanging on the backs of my kitchen chairs.

Evenings are particularly different.  I was used to a certain amount of quiet during the day, which I could break up by setting up a lunch date now and then with a friend, or going to a Bible study.  But in the evenings, the house used to come alive with food, conversation, interaction, as one person after another came home with their appetites and anecdotes.  No more.  Shawn comes home, and we eat, just the two of us, calmly and neatly.  Clean-up takes about five minutes, and then the dark of evening creeps into the house as we yawn and think about going to bed.

There are no backpacks lying around by the doors.

I don't have a marching band schedule on my desk.

The singing, the ruminating, the shared stories about what happened today, the hanging out, the coordinating rides, work schedules, weekend activities... it is all gone.  Boom.  Just like that. 

We live quiet now, and there is little need to drive around.

I should like this, right?

Well, it does cost a whole lot less when we go out to eat...


Judybs55 said...

Thanks for putting into words the past year for me...They come home..for Thanksgiving..Christmas, Spring break, and maybe summer. Life seems normal...I lose my car, stuff all over the house (and there was just one this summer!)....and then throw in the new is lonely...How do you make friends without kids? I started to find a niche in DE...very slowly...and then we moved...I am in the desert again.

Ruthie said...

I can't believe I didn't respond to this comment when you wrote it. Probably I was crying my eyes out. How DO you make friends without kids?

I miss them so much. I feel so alone. I do have some very nice friends, lovely friends. But I have no family at all. I have a fear of getting stuck in the hospital all by myself and not having anybody to be with me. Jesus is always with me, but there are times when, like the little girl in the story, I just want somebody with skin on. Somebody with hands my skin can feel, and a voice my ears can hear, and a face my eyes can see.