Sunday, December 7, 2014


Life after kids is Good.
I could just leave it at that.

The thing is, people ask me how it feels to have the last little chick out of the nest and I tell them it is amazing - that I'm as giddy as a kid in a candy store - and that's when I get these slightly startled looks.

I share with folks how fabulous it is to be a couple again - not parents, not so-and-so's mom and dad, not the triage team. Look, I'll always be a mom, but I am really happy to not be actively parenting. I have this amazing man, my partner, best friend and lover of 28 years by my side and we are happy. If we ran through the house naked the weekend after the little chick was delivered to her college dorm - who would know? That's just a rhetorical question of course.

Those startled looks either turn wistful by this point or the grins start to appear.

Life is Good

And its kind of sad that folks seem surprised that the empty nest can be such an amazing, life-affirming time.

Look, its not all giddiness and contentment. There have been some adjustments in the rhythm here at home. I'm used to cooking like a short order chef for multiple tastes and preferences. I was used to having some little rug rat in my personal space 24/7 - and -  to keeping my cell phone next to my bed when the rug rats were out for the night. I was used to juggling my work, hobbies, and friendships around the schedules of child care. Even when said child was seventeen.

All of which has been really easy to let go of.

Getting to focus on a loving, wonderful relationship with an extraordinary man and having found myself in a professional space that I love - I've had no problem retiring from active parenting.

I don't know how I got myself here to this juncture in my life with such a grateful and optimistic attitude. Its been a joy filled experience, the care and keeping of children, but that ride is over. Sure I wonder what life has in store for me now that I have given the world three more mouths to feed but I am also really enjoying the peace and yes, the quiet, of having them move on. Granted, the youngest is home for breaks while she goes to college but she is also an adult now and its her choices and decisions that guide her onward. We're not done supporting her - in all the ways that needs to happen; however, I am done trying to manage her development. That, my friends, is an amazing burden to set down.

Besides, I have this great guy to have fun with, a house that needs to be cleaned out (such the slow process) and part-time work that is keeping me incredibly engaged and busy. I have family and friends, colleagues and students. I don't know if I just got lucky or maybe the whole 'lonely' and depressing empty nest scenario is really just another myth. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who hit that time in their lives with pain and distress. And yet, when I think about the couples I know who have all had their children leave home - I see resilience and renaissance.

Renaissance is actually a perfect word for this time in my life.

I am going to keep answering that question about life after kids with a heartfelt "wonderful" and keep watching that startled look become a little more hopeful and thoughtful.

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