We're almost one week into being a household of "only" three children living here. Not an empty nest, just a roomier one.
I cried before the big birds left, of course, and my husband consoled me that they'd be okay. I trust that they will, too, we did an pretty good job getting them ready for the world (or college at least? I hope? Please?) I know they can drive and vote but once they move out, even just for the semester, that serves as a stark and unavoidable symbol that their childhoods are over. It's not worry that makes me cry.
Their absences haven't fully hit yet, with it being such a weird mixed-up week of massive quantities of snow and altered schedules. So what changes have I noticed in the roomier nest so far?
1. Their empty rooms have served as vacuums that immediately suctioned younger siblings in. I knew our 14-year-old, who normally shares a room with his brother, would be anxious to stretch out in his own space. I didn't anticipate our 10-year-old, who already has her own room, to claim her sister's room as her second bedroom. She didn't fully move in, mostly just spread her toys all over the floor but she did bring one piece of decor with her:
3. There are no drivers here to run errands for me. Boo. On the flipside, there are no drivers here that want to use my car and leave the gas tank low!
4. I don't have to cook as much--ha ha ha, just kidding. The three growing athletes here still eat a lot. I haven't adjusted amounts yet but I am finally learning what "leftovers" means.
5. We get to discover the joys of modern long distance relationships with people we love very much. I texted both college students yesterday with pictures of their brother's overnight bloody nose crime scene (if that doesn't make them homesick, I don't know what will) and had a chuckle at my son's quick reply of "Badass."
I got home from work to find my younger daughter in a video chat with her sister, who had been contacted by her younger brother earlier in the day, and she and I got to laugh together later over the content he had sent her.
Even though it's natural for me to feel sad about their childhoods being over, there are still many enjoyable parts of this roomier nest lifestyle. I'm sure by the time I really get used to it, the semester will be over and they'll be back (hooray!!!!).