On Becoming an (almost) Empty-Nester

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In just 2 weeks, our household lives will change and we will be (almost) empty-nesters.  I say (almost) because we will still have my husbands’ 11 year-old son half of the time.  The last of my three daughters will be a college freshman while the other 2 are now a super senior and a junior.  I find that I am thinking about this incredible change to my life and to the relationship my husband and I will share in the years to come.

The first of my plans: Once she starts college, I will sell the minivan.  It was mine first, then it has became the mode of transportation for each of my girls once they earned their drivers license.  It has numerous dings and scratches – the inside door handle fell off – the side mirrors have been replaced at least two times each – there is a flat tire in the trunk that just happened a week ago – for some reason, yellow paint is all over the carpet – and still, I’m a bit melancholy about the idea of it no longer sitting out in front of our house.  I can feel the beginnings of an empty place in my heart where that solid piece of metal once protected my little girls when they started driving and becoming more and more independent.

Plan two : Get a puppy.  We already have a 15-year old little black furry member of our family who is deaf and almost blind (but still the best dog in the world).  The rationale is that our older dog can teach the puppy a few good tricks.  But I know why my husband is really supportive of the idea (in addition to being a pushover for a cute pup)… he’s not much of a cuddler and he knows I’ll be a tad needy once daughter #3 leaves.  Watching TV or working at my desk with a puppy on my lap may relieve some of the emptiness I imagine I’ll feel.  Hopefully, our boy will enjoy having a dog that will bond with him and make the home that was once filled with the chatter of sisters and their friends into a home of barking and laughter.

Plan three : Spend more quality time together.  I’ve got to admit, it was a very nice feeling when my guy suggested a date night once a week.  I have a large network of girlfriends and organizations that I stay pretty busy with, and he is more of a chill out in front of the TV kind of guy, so I didn’t realize that he actually missed me sometimes.  In addition to our weekly date night, I’m going to suggest that we get involved in a relaxing activity together.  He enjoys bowling, so maybe it’s time to become like “The Flintstones” and join a league.  I’m looking forward to the fall and winter so we can restart our walking time together.

And finally, Plan four : Spend more quality time on myself – and enjoy it!  After 22 years of raising children, it’s time for me to reconnect or discover activities that I like or have always wanted to do.  It’s time to buy that Kindle or iPad and read all of those books I’ve wanted to read.  It’s time to play golf – not just miniature golf with the kids.  And it’s time to paint, or dream, or decorate, or do funky little crafts, or learn to knit, or travel.  Or think about Plans five, six and seven.