And So It Begins…

It was quiet.

Too quiet.

I couldn’t take it anymore!

Chris had been gone for a week and the loneliness sort of snuck up on me. I’d been putting in long hours on a writing project with a tight deadline. On Saturday evening, I rose to the surface, looked around, and realized I was alone. My social butterfly son Josh--who normally is happy to oblige me when I encourage him to invite friends over--just happened to have been gone two nights in a row. In general, I don’t mind alone time. I even enjoy it. But two full days was too much. I needed people!

People Who Need People

The following day was Superbowl Sunday. Josh was invited to a Superbowl Party and the hosting boy’s parents happened to be some of my favorite people. In a bold move I invited myself over. My darling friends not only gracefully agreed, but were kind enough to let me in the door after I admitted that I didn’t even know who was playing. (I know, I know--I’m un-American!) I do love the commercials, though. Here are two of my favorites!

"Space Babies" 2014 Kia Sorento Big Game Ad

Viva Young - 2013 Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

I ended up having a blast! As I drove home after the game, though, it occurred to me that this is my future. The loneliness I experienced while Chris was gone was a small taste of what I have to look forward to in a mere six months when our baby boy starts college in the fall. I’m dreading our upcoming status as full-fledged Empty Nesters (EN). Part of the problem is, as a freelance writer I work from my home. Alone. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE my job, but it’s not like I can mosey down the hall for a chat with the person in the next office. When my hubby travels, will I turn into one of those people who leaves the TV on for company? Will my one-sided conversations with the dog become the norm?

Another thing is, I genuinely love the hubbub of having teens in the house. I adore when Josh’s friends are over talking, laughing, eating cookies, making noise and staying up too late. I’m going to have to make some serious adjustments. Push myself to reach out more--as I did on Superbowl Sunday. I’ve been assured by many ENs that there are benefits to the EN lifestyle. Like when I asked an EN couple at the Superbowl Party if they had any difficulty adjusting, they both shouted “NO!” at the same time. Hilarious!

Other people I’ve talked to acknowledge that while it’s hard at first--long weeknights with no games/concerts/conferences to attend--they swear that after that initial adjustment period there are loads of benefits, like: getting to know your spouse again, less laundry, cleaner house, and especially no more high-school-early alarm clocks. Plus, there will be time to pursue interests that were put on hold. Hmm…maybe I’ll join a book club, or learn to play an instrument. (Anybody have a nice, noisy drum set I can borrow?)

One EN friend pointed out that the bottom line is we’re sending our kids out into the world, and that’s what we raised them for. We’re doing our job, and that’s a good thing. But it’s still a little scary.

Any Empty Nesters out there with tips or advice for me?

Image by: Muffet


Heidi Willis said...

Just reading this makes my heart ache. We are still three years from my oldest leaving, and eight from being completely empty nesters, but it already makes me sad.

I love my quiet during the day, but my favorite time is when they all bustle in. I love snow days when they have off, weekends and holidays. I love carpooling them and being in the midst of their friends and all the laughter and chaos and energy that teens have.

People always tell you when you have a baby that time goes fast, but I honestly never had any clue how short a time it seems they really are here at home.

You'll find great things to do, I'm sure. Friends and activities and new ways to fill your days. And if you need company, you always know where to find me. :)

Name: Holly Bowne said...
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Name: Holly Bowne said...

Thanks so much, Heidi! I would have guessed you could relate--loving that teen energy and bustle as well. I know I'm going to be a pouty baby for a while. But I'm sure I'll bounce back. (After listening to loads of maudlin music and crying over their baby albums for a bit.)

When my kids were little, I never did think that time was going by fast. It was only after they started getting older that it seemed to--as if time moved incrementally faster as we all aged!

Nancy said...

I loved having my children around, but I enjoy being an empty- nester, too. When my husband is away, I do put on the radio so I can hear voices in the background. I just do this while I'm busy, then I'll sit down and listen if I want to.

You were brave in inviting yourself to the Super Bowl party. I'm in the same boat. I didn't know who was playing. I think you will do fine.

One great thing: they come home and then the fun is even greater.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Ha, ha! Thanks for telling me I was brave, Nancy! But truly, it was borne of sheer desperation for human interaction. :o) And thanks for the encouraging words!

Teresa Robeson said...

No advice since I'm not there yet. Plus, my older son wants to attend the local university (where hubby teaches so we get a tuition discount, added bonus), and because it's a 20 minute drive from our house to the U, son is planning on staying home for his undergrad years. Now, he might change his mind, but I think he's smart enough to know when he has a good thing, and he's an introvert anyway, so dorm living won't suit him, so I foresee having him in the house for 5 more years. :} And my younger son is only 15 and we're keeping him behind a year (due to his autism), so he'll also be home for a while.

Funny commercials! I didn't see the Kia one because I wasn't paying attention to the Superbowl either. LOL!

I hope EN won't hit you as badly as you're dreading!

Name: Holly Bowne said...
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Name: Holly Bowne said...

Thanks, Teresa! Me too!! I actually missed quite a few of the commercials myself because I was so excited to be talking to humans again! (No offense to my cockapoo! ;o)