An almost empty nest

1994, building my first-born

I found out this morning that a friend of mine is expecting her first child. It gave me a profound feeling of being on the other end of things. She’s expecting her first-born, and my first-born just left home.

Our household has changed a lot in the last couple of weeks. On September 1, we had five living beings in the house; now we have three. Our fifteen-year-old son still lives here, but he comes and goes at will and lives his own life. Now, my husband and I look at each other and say: “We can do whatever we want.” 

We hardly know how to manage that. We are out of practice at carefree living.

When anyone asks me what my favourite stage of life so far has been, I say, “Ages 27 to 32.” Those were the years when we were first married. We had been working for a while, and had paid off student loans, so we enjoyed a comfortable enough financial situation. We ate out at restaurants, and we travelled. We said things like, “Let’s go to the Bahamas for the weekend.”

When I had my first child at age 32, that changed instantly. Our life decisions from that point revolved around children. It wasn’t an easy adjustment for a working couple in their thirties to make.

We hardly knew how to manage that. We never had any practice at care-filled living.

For 18 years, we embraced it. We loved every minute of family life, even the minutes we hated. Now, we’re at the other end. We’re back to being able to do whatever we want. So, we’re practising. On Saturday we went to a football game and then to the Old Mill at Ashton for a beer.

My husband said, “This is like a date.” I said, “No, this is just life now.”

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