Opinion: Freedom of an empty nest

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Well folks, I’m two months into my glorious stint as an empty nester, and I. Am. Thriving. I love it so much I can almost forget the horrors of being a stay-at-home mom for nine years and a working mother for 14. “Horrors” may be a bit strong, but keeping four offspring safe and warm and out of jail was exhausting – emotionally, physically, and mentally.

With the last one finally away at college, that giant weight of constant parenting is gone. Woohoo! This introvert has truly found her happy place.

My husband Doo? Less so. Partly because he’s an extravert who has always been energized by interaction with our children, especially as they’ve grown older, but also because he was never as focused on the minutiae of their day-to-day existence as I was. At any moment I could have told you where everyone was, what they were doing and with whom, and what they would inevitably need. I felt maybe not entirely responsible but certainly fully aware of all aspects of their lives, from friends and fears to food and footwear.

Doo, on the other hand, was able to maximize the joy of fatherhood while minimizing the stress of it. And now when he arrives home, instead of finding a son or daughter with whom he can chat and laugh and generally engage, he sees me, perfectly content on the couch playing online Sudoku in beautiful silence until I cheerfully bid goodnight at 8:30 p.m.

Poor Doo. He misses his fun kids, and his boring wife is a poor substitute. But at least one of us is thriving in this empty nest!

Peace out.

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