Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Empty Nester...Who Me?
I am not yet an empty nester. There are about 6 or 7 years left before I reach that stage of life. But even so, with a daughter now in college and another daughter following close behind by about three years, I’m definitely feeling the pull of the inevitable time when it will be just my husband and me left here to entertain each other.
There is a commercial on T.V. where a 9 or 10 yr-old girl asks her father if she can borrow the car keys, to which he understandably reacts with shock and disbelieve because she’s much too young to drive. When his young 5 or 6 yr-old son is seen putting on a jacket and heading out the door with a briefcase, the father asks, where do you think you’re going, to which the little boy replies blandly, “to work”. It’s a pretty funny scene, but as a parent watching, that soft spot in my heart felt a little jolt. You would have to see the commercial to fully get the gist of the message: Where does the time go? How did all those years slip by so fast?
If I’m being smart, I should not get too sentimental about this topic yet. I’ve met plenty of parents who are just chomping at the bit to have their almost grown children move out permanently. After all, no matter how calm or chaotic your family life is, raising children has always been a challenging task, especially in today’s society. And I’d be lying if I said “not our family”. I recall quite a few instances during my DD1’s crazy high school years when I longed for the day she would eventually be on her own to experience first hand just how tough it is out in the big bad world. What normal parent hasn’t? Now that she is off at school enjoying a taste of independence away from us, the realization of how quickly this first step to total independence came has hit home hard.
Now my husband and I are adjusting to living with one teenager in the house for 8 or 9 months out of the year. With only two and a half years remaining before both children are away at school and “part time” residents in our house, we will be getting lots of practice for the “real thing”. The truth of the matter is, when the day finally arrives for both of them to permanently leave the nest, I honestly believe that I will not be ready to see them go.