My children left for a week of summer camp on Sunday. Days leading up to their departure consisted of washing clothes, encouraging them to pack (they are old enough to take care of this task on their own–they even washed half of the clothes), running last-minute errands getting little things that were on the camp packing list, and managing the anxiety from my daughter– it was her first year going to camp. All this to say that the house was full of activity and excitement, with a little dash of nerves. Such a stark contrast to what my husband and I met on Sunday afternoon.
After lunch on Sunday, we both looked at each other and said it felt weird thinking that they would be gone for the entire week. The house already felt different. Now it was quiet. Really quiet. It was only us and the dog. I believe it was then that I realized they had both never been gone at the same time for more than one night.
The next morning was also strange. I didn’t hear the normal sounds of morning in the house, realizing that most of them usually came compliments of my children. Even our dog wandered around as though she was lo0king for her two-legged siblings.
That evening I caught my husband talking to our dog about something in a teaching tone of voice. He sounded like he was sharing a teachable moment with her in lieu of our children being here. To her credit, she sat very attentive and took in his every word. She is a good dog. I asked him if this is a sign of things to come in the future…
My husband and I realized that this is what our house will feel like when we have an empty nest for real. Now, we do have several years ahead of us before that becomes a reality, but this week of having an eerily quiet nest has served as somewhat of a preview for us. My husband mentioned to a colleague, that happened to be an empty nester, that we had an empty nest for a week. He responded that having an empty nest sounds like it is going to be great, but then you look in your children’s rooms and they aren’t there. You realize then that it isn’t as great as you thought it was going to be.
I have never been one to rush my children into the next stage of life. After this week, I definitely will not rush anything, but rather enjoy where they are each step of the way. I think I really do like a house full with energy and noises that only come with children. I am looking forward to seeing my children return on Saturday, and having a full nest once again!
What We’re Reading…
Me: NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Check out their website at www.nurtureshock.com. Interesting reading!
My son and daughter: Will update when they return from camp!