They'll Come Back. They Always Do...

After 28 years of raising three children, my husband and I are fast approaching the phase of life we never anticipated would arrive so quickly—The Empty Nest. Growing teary-eyed as I address high school graduation announcements (despite wise words from friends who have already passed into the world with no children in the house: “There’s no sense getting all worked up about it. You won’t have to miss them for long. They’ll come back. They always do.”), I remind myself that we have been through this before. Our oldest child has been gone for more than a decade, but with her younger brothers leaving home back-to-back, this time will be different.

What will I do with my time when we no longer have kids around to coddle, chauffeur, pick up after, discipline, advise and cater to? The sky’s the limit, making narrowing it down a bit difficult, but after consideration, I came up with a preliminary list.

  1. Repair the washer—whose little mind will be blown without having 16 plus loads of clothes to wash each week.
  2. Find storage for all the towels and dishes I didn’t know we owned because they have never been clean and put away all at the same time.
  3. Buy new furniture after fulfilling the promise I have been taunting the kids with for years: “Go ahead, carve your name in the table. Jump up and down on the couch—wrestle with the wet dog on it. Go right ahead, because they’re yours. When you leave, they go with you. Those are yours and the set upstairs belongs to your brother.”
  4. Get organized: self-explanatory in effort involved and reality of completion.
  5. Move to my exterior office while my husband guts and remodels the house, an empty nest promise he made to himself. And given the speed at which he usually moves with this type endeavor, I will have more than enough time to:
  6. Scrapbook 28 years worth of pictures, for which I have spent years hoarding paraphernalia and supplies, and
  7. Finish writing the three novels I have been working on for years before my antsy readers threatened uprising becomes reality.
  8. Travel: find a nice qualified sitter for our house and all the animals residing on our Island of Left-Behind Pets and hit the road/air/high seas, joining the ranks of other lightweight-luggage-toting empty nesters in sensible shoes and jersey-based, reversible mix-and-match clothing as we see the world.
  9. Girlfriends Night/Weekends Out/Road trips: finally make good on all the adventures my friends and I have been plotting, ignoring that some are a wee bit far-fetched and initially proposed over drinks…
  10. Stimulate my mind and/or body: finally learn how to use all the bells and whistles on my SLR camera, or take computer/fitness classes/college courses.
After getting started, I discovered that the list could go on and on. Empty Nest might be as bad as I first imagined. If my fledgling list is any indication, it certainly won’t be boring.

 I begin sealing announcement envelopes, a more at-ease smile spreading over my face as I realize that we will survive without the kids. Sure, we will miss them and worry about them because we will always be parents, but we will move on, journeying down a new path, proud that our love and guidance has helped mold our children into fine individuals and led them to find paths of their own.

Besides, there’s no sense getting all worked up about it. They’ll come back. They always do…

Mrs. Vicki Allen
who will find a way to party up the empty nest like

Mother of three fabulous children, guest blogger Vicki Allen is a pharmacist, novelist, mask maker and certified Zumba Fitness instructor. Graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Allen met her husband of 22 years on a blind date and lived with him in marital bliss in his hometown of Oklahoma City until purchasing Sentry Drug and relocating to Central Louisiana in 2002. In addition to their children, the Allen's have 2 cats, a Dalmatian, a shepherd-mix, a Labrador Retriever and a chihuahua mix who adopted them. Vicki's son will be attending Oklahoma State University in August 2012.

(Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Hart recently reconnected through Facebook. They met while working at the same grocery store in Edmond, OK- Mrs. Allen as a pharmacist, Mrs. Hart as a very pregnant bank manager. Their friendship is one that Mrs. Hart has valued for many years. Mrs. Hart HIGHLY recommends Mrs. Allen's novels to all of her readers.)

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