Kids: You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them! Â Granted, that expression may have originally been coined for someone (er, some gender) other than kids, but these days I’d like to think it has ample applications to our offspring, for, as challenging and frustrating as being a parent can seem at times, the rewards far outweigh the work, and when the days of being needed daily suddenly come to an end it is, frankly, quite an adjustment. Â I will soon be celebrating my 23rd year of fatherhood, and for the first time in over 22 years, I am living my life in a house without kids.
Empty Nest, Full of Pride…
Sure, it is an accomplishment to get your kids to the point when they can go out into the world on their own, and start playing in the same game of “adulthood” that we, ourselves, navigate each day.. but it is an accomplishment that comes with a price… the price of change… the price of not being “needed” in the ways you have become so accustomed to… in the ways the have been so deeply and dearly ingrained in your life as a parent. While I am filled with immense and immeasurable pride for my kids, for what they have accomplished, and more importantly, for the fine young people they have become, I am at times overwhelmed by how much I miss having them around. Â I knew this was coming, and that I was about to experience a taste of sunrise, sunset, but I never imagined how truly different things would feel.
Keep Your Friends Close, Your Enemies Closer, And Your Kids As Close As Possible
While my middle son has been thriving at college in Boston for a few years now, I was spoiled to have the other two here with me at home. Â Now, since my oldest son has become a first time homeowner and has absconded with my daughter, his sister, as a housemate, I am left to my own devices, and fewer vices. Â Miraculously, there are no longer stacks of filthy dishes in the sink when I come home. Â Lights and televisions are not left on in rooms that are unoccupied. Â Plates of half eaten food and half filled glasses are not strewn about the most unlikely nooks and crannies of the house to feed the undernourished community of grateful ants. The laundry room is available for me to do my laundry… any time I want. Â My house is CLEAN. Â My house is QUIET. Â My house is BORING. Â Luckily, my “local” kids have only moved ten minutes away, and in an odd twist of “role reversal” after so many years of feeding them, I was invited to “their house” for dinner for the first time.
It was wonderful.
Parenthood is forever, and forever changes. Â Cherish every moment along the way. Â The things you find most aggravating today are likely the things you will miss most sorely when they are gone…
(And if you can get at least one of your kids to become a professional chef, you’ll enjoy “dinner at the kids house” even more!)