For a year and a half now I have been living in an empty nestâ€¦ a house that once was riddled with the noise and disruption of three kids, now silenced, save for the rustlings of myself and a few dogs. While I am happy to have the canine company, it is not the same as the energy and chaos of children as they go from toddler to teen.
As one by one they grew, graduated and moved on to college and beyond, to dorm rooms, apartments, and homes of their own, in cities far and near, I reluctantly shifted into a new phase of parenthood, as a dad living on my own. Truthfully, it has been quite a change and I am still adjusting. Perhaps that is why it is such a treat to have my middle son, now graduated from college, home for a few weeks before he moves to Austin, Texas to start his career.
Not Home Alone
I was away for a few days on business, and it was such a thrill to come home to a house that looked lived in. Dirty dishes in the sinkâ€¦ All sorts of “stuff” strewn about the kitchen tableâ€¦ Noises not made by me! It has been wonderful to have the nest less than empty for awhile. Bumping into each other in the kitchen, snacking and chit-chattingâ€¦ Helping him with computer updates and cover lettersâ€¦ Just hanging out on the couch and watching a movie together. All things I haven’t had the chance to do in far too long. All things we so easily take for granted and never imagine how much we will miss them when our kids are no longer always around.
Empty, Yet Full
Yesterday we went for a run together. For the first half mile my son held back, matching my “old man” pace. Then, as we turned a corner to a long stretch of road, he took off ahead of me, feeling out his own younger, faster clip. I watched with awe and pride as a trim, strong young man ran away from me, full of youth and energy and promise and possibility. As I ran on, huffing, puffing, and choked with emotion, I was comforted by the knowledge that he would always be welcome to run home againâ€¦ My grown children may have left my nest empty, but my heart and soul remain quite full.
If your kids are still at home, dote on every single moment with them, for no moments are trivialÂ onceÂ they become memories.
Jeff SassÂ is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 24, Ethan, 22 and Olivia, 20). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes!Â andÂ Social Networking RehabÂ and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of DadsÂ andÂ Wunderkind!Â podcasts.
Photo Credit:Â Â© mylisa – Fotolia.com