It’s Saturday evening and I’m writing this blog post. Why? Because I can! Four weeks ago my husband and I brought our youngest child to college to start his freshman year at High Point University in NC. My older son is a senior at the University of Delaware. That means I have no day-to-day child responsibilities to fill my calendar! After 21 and a half years, it’s a very odd feeling to now be an “empty nester”.

Friends sheepishly ask me how I’m doing now that both of my kids are off in college, and when I answer enthusiastically “Great!”, they seem disappointed. Am I supposed to go into a state of mourning now that my precious children are not living at home? Of course I got weepy when I dropped them at school (and a little before and after) BUT it’s their turn to start running their own life. We’re happy with the job we did as full-time parents and know the boys have a solid start in life. It’s now time to refocus on me, my husband and our life full-time.

So what’s different now that the kiddos are gone? Pretty much everything! In these early weeks of empty-nesting, I can say:

  • I have and make more time to read!
  • My house stays pretty clean and picked up.
  • My stuff stays where I leave it!
  • Food shopping has become much easier and much less.
  • Scheduling activities focused on what I and my husband want to do.
  • There’s less laundry.
  • There are more free weeknights to take a class, visit with a friend, work late or just plan a nice meal at home.

And the best little thrill was when I got to use my own grocery store gas points for MY car instead of giving them to my kids!

I expect more little special thrills as the year goes on. In the meantime, I enjoy texting and speaking with my sons on a regular basis. I truly look forward to seeing them at their place on parents’ weekend and when they come home for the upcoming holidays.

And time will tell what the next chapter brings. Many of my empty-nester friends are really not empty-nesters anymore as their college graduates have come home to save money while they get themselves established. I fully expect that to happen with one or both of my kids. BUT for now, I am going to continue enjoying the freedom I have earned. And wherever I go, I will be bringing something good to read. Why? Because I can!

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