Empty Nesting Hatches New Life

My wife and I are in our first several weeks as empty nesters — and to be honest this is pretty awesome.

Our youngest, our daughter, moved out and began her college experience leaving her mom, the dog, and me in her rear view mirror. Don’t get me wrong, there were emotions on both sides, but nothing like what my wife and I thought we’d face at this point in life.

Earlier this summer I found myself standing in the street talking with a neighbor about how my wife and I were emotionally preparing for the ‘coming event’.

Wrapping his arm around his wife, pulling her closer, they both smiled.

“You’re going to love it,” they said.

Looking into each other’s eyes, they both laughed and exchanged a kiss.

“You just don’t know how much fun it will be – just you wait.”

Soon after the red taillights of our daughter’s white car pulling out of the driveway, my wife and I suddenly began to discover a new life revealing itself before us.

Within days we began to be reminded of why we first got together decades ago – but now with advantage of a lifetime of experiences behind us. We’ve always been crazy for each other, but sometimes life can be distracting to keeping your focus on the important things in life – growing together, letting the other one know how much you appreciate them, and discovering different areas of interest without losing touch of the core values you’ve shared as a couple.

You can spot out these people a mile away as a telltale spark tends to appear in their eyes when they see one another across a room. Some live as near as a next door or as far away as across the country. As a matter of fact, now that I know what to look for, I’m seeing them everywhere: the local grocery store, a table just outside a coffee shop, or even a couple walking along the street together.

Empty nesting is not about a fulfilling a long pent up ‘to do’ list but rather creating a brand new chapter in life. While the names on the driver’s license may still read the same, suddenly you both find yourself alone together for the first time in decades. And for some, this can be unnerving.

One morning over breakfast my wife and I were talking about marriage.

“I don’t think you should get married just to be with someone else,” she said, “but because you can’t stand not to be without the other person.”

Fortunately I married her for the right reason.

I’ve heard advice from other about how we are going to love the freedom an empty nester discovers – no more cross-town soccer games, lots of empty dates on the kitchen calendar, and a smaller grocery bill each month. But to be honest, the best thing I’m discovering is more of a realization I am still married to my best friend – the one person I can’t stand to be without.


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