Yesterday, Cheryl and I returned to an empty home. For the first time in 21 years, we had no children living underneath our roof. Actually, we’ve had kids for 21 years and 2 weeks … but who’s counting?
I remember talking to a guy, many years ago, after a Wednesday night church service. He had just dropped off his youngest daughter at college, and he and his wife were planning a road trip up to New England to see the fall foliage. He sounded almost giddy.
I also remember hearing another guy—a minister—say how much he enjoyed the empty-nest years, because he and his wife could now be “romantic” any time of the day or night.
I have to say, I’m not feeling those things right now …
Yesterday, Cheryl and I returned to an empty home after saying goodbye to Kate at Hope College. A week earlier, we said farewell to Cal at Liberty University. Hope is 676 miles from home. Liberty is 169 miles away. But who’s counting?
We returned to a house that was as quiet as a church on a Saturday morning. After unpacking our bags, we settled in for a couple of hours of uninterrupted television. 2 hours without a phone call or text. 2 hours without music playing in the background or video game explosions or showers running or toilets flushing or people in the kitchen popping open the fridge to look for a snack.
Not even the sound of crickets. Not even a peep from our cat who was asleep on the family room floor.
And I’m beginning to realize that this empty-nest stuff is a mix of emotions. Some are happy and some are sad, but right now the scales seem to be tipping a little bit toward the sad side.
I understand it’s a necessary transition. I know it’s for the best. I believe it will get better with time. But I do miss our kids. I do.
And so today, I go online to check out campus calendars, and I see that fall breaks are just around the corner. It’s 39 days until Liberty’s break, and 47 days until Hope lets out.
But, then again, who’s counting?