I love kids, and I have always wondered how I’d manage when my seven children were grown and gone. Now, the time is drawing nearer and nearer.
Lately, instead of dwelling on all the things I will miss about my children being grown, I am beginning to see a lot of the benefits. Most of my peers are now empty nesters and have become grandparents. They make it look pretty good. I’ve gone from dreading an empty nest to looking forward to it.
The pitter-patter of little feet was great while it lasted, but the feet got bigger and the shoes got way more expensive. The pitter-patter turned to loud clomping, and the boys always jumped from half way up the staircases. I’ve always heard “Silence is golden,” and I’ve also heard about the “golden years.” I have now put two and two together: I am so looking forward to the silence I will have in my golden years. Kids are loud. Their friends are loud. Their games are loud. Their music is loud, and my kids love music. We’ve had a trumpet, a saxophone, a clarinet, a flute, a keyboard, drums and a few guitars take up residence here over the years, and they will all leave home with the kids.
That silence is going to come in so handy when I’m taking those long afternoon naps that come with retirement. While the kids have been home, napping has only been possible for the soundest of sleepers. I’m not one of those. Oh, and sleeping in on occasion without awakening to a slamming door or a kid needing me to help them find something will be a definite perk to empty nesting.
For years I have said, “I know I will miss all these toys lying around someday when the kids are gone,” as I cleaned up after children. I have decided I will not. Having a clean house is amazing, and having it stay clean for more than a few hours will be beyond amazing. Likewise, I will not miss the maze of bicycles and soccer balls in the yard and on the sidewalk and porch. I think I’ll plant some flowers right in front of the porch where all the Tonka trucks used to haul dirt and gravel, in fact.
Cooking without considering the individual likes of several people will be a fantastic part of being an empty nester. I will be able to put pecans in the cookies, onions in the meatloaf and peas in our salads too. Dining in a restaurant will not mean we have to take a family vote. My husband and I will even be able to hold hands across the table without embarrassing anyone. “Mom, you are embarrassing me!” won’t even exist in my empty nester existence.
There are so many other things I have to look forward to after my children leave home. I’ll be able to shower without having to turn off the water so I can hear the kid who needs to ask me something through the door. There will be no more waiting up for children to come in from their activities before I can drift off to sleep at night. I’ll never have to wash ball uniforms or help with a last-minute project a child “forgot” again. There will be financial benefits too: the lower electric bill, water bill, phone bill, car insurance and grocery bill will be nice perks. I have dreamed of turning the kids’ bedrooms into things like a sewing room, an office and a guest bedroom, and this will be my chance.
My children will always be welcome to visit their childhood home. I just hope they call first. Otherwise, I might be napping, in the living room and without clothes on, just because I can.