I wrote earlier in the week about surveying my empty nest.  This morning, I began thinking…What has changed?  Is anything truly different?  I’ve spent so many years with a house full of people, what benefits are reaped when the house is filled…with two?

There are the obvious changes.  Our food bill has cut in half.  I was once advised to begin buying meat in bulk when the boys were preteens.  When they hit the teens, my friend expressed…”just buy the cow!”  We noticed that when the first boy moved out, our food bill did not change dramatically.  Then the second one moved, and still no dramatic change.  We are now able to pinpoint the eater.

We no longer have to get up and close the door if anything happens in the middle of the night.  By anything happens…I mean…anything outside of the norm of loud nasal breathing and lots of menopausal insomnia.  My husband Eric was always more of the mindset of just faking loud noises to scare the boys away but I’m the typical Mom.  I assume that the boys know that I’ve had sex since none of them are adopted, but also know that in their mind that equates to me having sex exactly three times.  Well…four…there was one uncomfortable morning when my middle son Tommy exclaimed, “for God’s sake, Mom…leave a tie on the door and I’ll sleep somewhere else!”

I would love to say that the house stays cleaner.  We have established now that Matthew was not the only messy one.  We still have scomet_breadtacks of mail on the table and my white tile floor is even dirtier than before.  This, however, is due to Matt’s replacement – our five year old greyhound/shepherd shelter dog.  We were concerned that our five year old Pit/Husky mix, Dexter, would be incredibly lonely with Matt moving out so we adopted a brother for him.  He has since been giving us looks as if to say, “Exactly when did I say I was lonely?  Who is this guy and when is he going home?”  While Dexter’s white hair blended nicely with the white tile, I now have a grey carpet if I don’t vacuum every day.

The front bathroom, however, is a different story.  This was Matt’s bathroom.  It was a mess.  Not just a mess.  An…”OMG…how does anyone’s feet get that dirty and you need to clean the tub”…mess.  A…”how are you even seeing your reflection through that mirror?” mess.  And…a “how many towels are you planning on storing on the floor?” mess.  The bathroom now sits prim and proper waiting for company to arrive. It proudly displays its very own set of guest towels and the tub is actually white.  (I had questioned that previously and wondered if we had actually purchased one with a tan inside.)  This is truly a benefit since we do have company over almost weekly.

The last “benefit” that I’ve discovered is still up for grabs on whether it is a true benefit.  Prior to the empty nest, I always had to leave the bedroom dressed…or in a robe..or in whatever was handy if I had to grab something outside of the bedroom.  Now…I can run in underwear to the next room and no one cares.  (I did realize yesterday that running to the garage this way may not be prudent since I forgot the large window in our side garage door has no covering.  Good morning neighbor!)  Strolling into the workout room to weigh myself however is fair game.  Except for one little thing.  There is a full length mirror.  A mirror that I have successfully avoided in anything other than full clothes for the last 16 years.  I’ve made peace with my body over the years and would like to keep it that way.  I think I’ll park the mirror next to the garage door window.  There are things I just don’t need to see!

I’ll continue to document the changes I feel.  I’m excited for this next stage in life.  Even more so since I can see retirement looming within the next ten(?) years.   I’ve become a true believer in ‘the best place to be?’  Where you are.  The best time of your life?  Right now.  I have the best of all worlds right now.  I can spend time with my boys and have alone time with my husband.  I can be at work or take time off.  Once again…I am blessed.  The secret is…not to forget that…regardless of what life brings.

Posted by:Sheri Saretsky

I spent ten years as a single parent of three boys. I then married my wonderful husband and he was inducted into the world of boy raising. Now we get to add my peri-menopause to the mix! Its been a crazy life...one I wouldn't change a minute of....

One thought on “…and the benefits begin…

  1. Oh, how I can relate to this post, except for me this transition happened nearly 15 years ago. Even as I type ’15’ I can’t believe it! I was so sad when my only child moved out but after about 6 months of grieving, I came to enjoy the benefits you write about in this post. We also got a second dog and our old mutt was rejuvenated. We just put down our second dog a year ago, so we are truly just us two at this point. It is different not having a dog, but cleaner and easier and we aren’t tied down so much. You are doing a great job with this adjustment so I have no doubt you’ll embrace retirement with gusto!

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