WARNING: Mature content…intended for wrinkled eyes only.
I have found that this “Empty Nest Syndrome” is not exactly what I had expected. To begin with, I had no idea that it would start before the boys ever left home. Just one more thing I wish someone had thought to warn me about. Once Shayne graduated from high school, between his work schedule and social time, we hardly saw him. When Vance also started working, we began seeing much less of him as well. Wednesday through Friday I’m pretty much on my own these days and Saturday it’s just Dean and I.
Vance usually works about a four-hour shift. Longer if it’s a busy night. When Dean and I realized that we would have four hours on Saturday nights to ourselves, we got excited, and a bit amorous! We had visions of swinging naked from the ceiling fan if we so pleased.
Here’s the thing….the nest is only empty so long as we are very still and quiet. Or so long as we are busy doing very un-fun things like mowing the yard or washing dishes. Children who are scheduled for four hour shifts find their spidey senses tingling as soon as mom and dad get to feeling frisky. I seriously mean to tell you that the simple mention of the word “sexy” is immediately followed by headlights as their car pulls into the driveway and they pile out to find out what we’re up to.
Let me be lonely or need to run an errand and you can bet that my daydreams of their company are redirected fairly quickly because I’m “making them late for work” or they would rather “grab a bite to eat with their friends”. Let me shave my legs, however, with thoughts of hubby on my mind and I can’t get those kids out of the house by throwing gold nuggets down the street for them to chase. It’s crazy!
Here I am trying to figure out who I am without them. Dean and I had about a year together before Shayne arrived in our lives. For the last twenty years we’ve been Mommy and Daddy. That is our whole identity. Everything we’ve done, everywhere we’ve been, it’s all been about our boys. And it’s been AMAZING! We wouldn’t trade a minute of it for a million billion dollars. We treasure every moment of it. But if they are going to be moving on, as nature intends, then to keep from losing my mind, I have to find things to fill up all this empty time. I already find myself bemoaning the situation to Dean, “I’m lost. I no longer have an identity.” Of course, being a man, his ideal course of action is to turn me into his “Love Goddess”. Except nothing…I mean NOTHING brings those little feet skittering home to check on us like the creation of pheromones in our house. They work ten miles away, and yet…every time! Every time I wink at my husband, I get a phone call that someone is off work early and needs a ride home. Every time I put a hand on my husband’s knee and grin at him, the car pulls up. And I don’t even mean that it happens only when their work day ends. The one that delivers pizzas just randomly shows up during his shift…under the guise of needing ibuprofen for a headache or needing to pick up his uniform hat or whatever other excuse he can come up with to foil the fun that may be happening behind his back.
Okay, fine. If this is how it’s going to be then we decide that we will go back to the old way of doing things. Wait until everyone is in bed and put the dogs out of the bedroom (because six eyes on you while you’re playing kissey face is just weird and a cold dog nose on your bum while you’re feeling frisky has a way of really taking you out of the moment). But lo and behold, these teenagers that I can not find hide nor hair of when dishes need to be done, have earned enough money to buy themselves electronics. So they bide their time behind their own closed doors. The lights are out, but apparently the headphones are in and the YouTube is on, leading us to “Think We’re Alone Now”. Then…just as the getting starts getting good there comes a knock at the door and a questioning voice asking, “Why are the dogs locked out?” … … … REALLY??? NO…I MEAN R-E-A-L-L-Y???? I have considered buying them one of those “birds and bees” books that explains how the mommy and daddy like to give each other a “special hug” if you will just LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!
Please, don’t get me wrong. I miss my boys terribly. I am so proud of all they are accomplishing and I do understand that it’s the nature of life for them to move on to their own lives. I understand that I have to let go and let them fly. But the time that I most think of pushing them out of the nest is when I’m trying to be friendly with hubby and here they come squawking about wanting worms. It’s then that I think, “IT’S TIME TO FLY TO McDONALDS AND FIND YOUR OWN WORMS LITTLE BIRDIES!”
We try to be fair. They are becoming young men. So with some manners and maturity we attempt to explain to them that sometimes we need some alone time. That we have spent their entire lives being attentive to their needs and it’s time for us to focus more on our needs now. I get the distinct impression that this is fine by them as long as our needs go no further than reading a book or watching the evening news. When we try to explain, with as much dignity as possible, that regardless of what they may believe, we are not old codgers, but young, active adults with a healthy interest in each other, what we get in return are eye rolls and gagging noises. And in the middle of the night we get knocks on the bedroom door…
You know, I always thought it was a pain to sneak around behind my parents’ backs as a teenager. I had NO idea how hard it was going to be to sneak around behind my teenagers’ backs as a parent. Yeah, Karma.