The Really and Truly Empty Nest

Recently, our second son got the notion that he, too, was entitled to move out and start living his own life, leaving my husband and me with something we weren’t sure we’d ever experience—an empty nest. After a few months of getting used to it, this empty nest thing has become a less daunting. So less daunting that I now feel capable of telling future empty-nesters about a few of the things they have to look forward to:
1. You will enjoy grocery shopping much more. Especially when you pay your bill. It has been downright shocking to wander through the grocery store every week and no longer have to purchase such essential items as Monster energy drink, Axe deodorant and Double Stuf Oreos. Since both of our kids grew up believing that generic items were end products from the devil’s workshop, we have spent the past two decades buying brand names. It is a true joy to once again be able to get store brands of potato chips, bread and cookies, all of which taste just like the “real” thing in my opinion. It becomes a double joy when you realize that since you are saving so much money not buying what your kids like, you can now buy yourself some of the goodies that you’ve been denied lo these many years, such as sirloin steak, fresh flowers and wine that doesn’t come in a box.
2. You will clean your house on Saturday and it will stay relatively clean all week. I’m not saying that either of our sons are slobs but I am saying that neither of them see anything wrong with hanging their clothes on the floor or vacuuming once a season. With them in their own digs, our place is looking perpetually tidy.
3. On that same note, you will discover the latent slob inside of you. Now that my husband and I have more room to spread out, I have noticed that we are really spreading out. The areas around Hubby’s recliner and the sofa I call home have grown exponentially. We keep within arms distance all of the necessities of life like three remote controls, the TV guide, yesterday’s newspaper and everything else we’re too lazy to put away or toss in the recycling bin. If we keep this up, I can kiss the perpetually tidy look goodbye in approximately six months.
4. Depending on how lonely one of you are, the odds are very good that you will adopt a pet. I’m not naming names but someone in our marriage decided that the house was too empty without kids and that we needed a dog which is how Rocky came into our lives. Rocky is a 70 pound black Labrador who prefers peanut butter and crackers to kibble and who has more toys than our sons did when they were babies. All right, I will name names: my husband wanted Rocky and swore up and down that he would be fully responsible for him. A few days after his adoption, Rocky started doing the dreaded “doggie scoot” across the carpet and I was nominated to take him to the vet to check for worms. As the vet handed me the good news that Rocky didn’t have worms but the sad news that he did have packed anal glands–a condition that up until that moment I had been blissfully unaware of–I asked myself why I was sitting in the vet’s office with Rocky and his packed anal glands while my husband sat out in the car. Fortunately, the vet was able to take care of Rock’s issue and later that night we went for our second stroll of the day. A a friend drove past and shouted at me, “I like your husband’s dog!” Ah, yes. My husband’s dog but somehow while my husband and Rocky bond over peanut butter and crackers during the cocktail hour, I am the one who has gotten stuck with nightly walks and dealing with all things veterinarian related.
5. ALL of your utility bills will go down. Every single one.
It wasn’t so long ago that I had to brace myself before opening the monthly water bill or eyeing just how much Xcel Energy wanted from us. That is no longer the case. With no one playing video games 24/7 or taking 20 minutes showers, it is shocking how little energy Mark and I use. You’d think we were dead or something close to it.
6. When your kids come home to visit, you will discover that they are really fun people to be around. Now that our sons no longer live with us, they are delightful guests. They praise every mouthful of food I serve them, carry their plates to the dishwasher after meals and do something they rarely did when we all lived together: converse. Whenever I see one of their cars in the driveway my hearts leaps like we are about to have a visit from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse crew. Only better.
7. And finally, you are going to miss them more than you ever imagined. That said, anytime our sons want to move back home, they are more than welcome. Their rooms and their mother are waiting for them.


One thought on “The Really and Truly Empty Nest

  1. Nell Musolf proves with every blog that she is the ‘real deal”. Finally…..someone who tells it like it is — all the good, the funny, the inspirational, and yes….sometimes the bad. But in the end, it’s all good! I can relate to all the tales of being a woman who has spent the bulk of her life creating a home and raising kids — the most gratifying work in the world! Well Done. Keep writing!


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