Well that's it. The boys have moved into school. Their rooms have been emptied and it looks like a ghost town in our basement. Pillows are gone, Xbox's no longer light up the night and we don't hear them talking at 11:00 before bed.
We are lucky. We will see our kids often before Christmas break. We have the luxury of going to Saturday football games and being able to take them out to dinner after the win's. We will see them for fall break, and rivalry week and for deer hunting.
It is still like a ghost town in our house. There are no creaky chairs moving on the second floor, or kids coming down at 9:30 to forage before bed. There is no gently waking them before work in the morning (me, not my husband). There have been mixed messages from friends that can't believe we can handle this...that their lifeblood is pretty much their children and they have no idea how we can handle not just one, but two kids gone. Then the others that say give it a few weeks and it will be good. Then the others that say fuck yeah, your free.
Frankly, I don't want to be free. I like cooking for our kids. I like watching Packer games on Sunday afternoon and the Walking Dead on Sunday nights. I like the texts at noon asking what is for dinner and the "I love you's" before bed.
Now it's just different. Dinner last night took about five minutes to make and another five to eat. There were no recounts of how the work day went because my husband and I talk throughout the day. There were no tales of what went down at the playground for our youngest or what cool project our oldest worked on.
So why do I say this an almost empty nest? Our kids will come back. There will be those quick visits home, and four breaks a year. The oldest will move out, the youngest still has four years of college. Some of our friends have kids that didn't go to school. That once they hit 18 or 19 they moved out on their own. They are working jobs and want to get started on life. Some moved into apartments, and some bought houses. Others have kids that flew clear across the country to go to school or even across the ocean the serve our country. Those parents might only see their kids once every few months. I'm clinging to the fact that I will see ours a little more often, at least for the time being.
I don't foresee much will change. It isn't like we were having family game nights or spending all our free time together. We are just a normal family. Two parents, two kids, two dogs. We all have our own hobbies; we are tired after work; we eat meals together; we go on vacation together; and we are there when we need each other.
The empty nest syndrome is just a state of mind. Although they aren't under the same roof right now, they know where home is. It makes it a little easier to know they are together for this next semester. And for the record, it's easier for me; they are brothers and could be across the country from each other and they would be fine.