Since we moved Oldest and Youngest away I’ve had good days and rough days. I think it’s going to be that way for awhile. Two of my all-time favorite people have moved out of reach, and it’s just hard. Some days it’s going to be harder than others. Today is one of those “harder than others” days.
One of the things that’s bugging me most right now is those know-it-alls who have been through the empty nest thing and who seem to enjoy making light of what I’m going through; the ones with the hearty comments like “You should be celebrating! You’ve got the house to yourself now! Now the fun begins!” People who have the emotional IQ of an earthworm.
Things I would like to say in response (but which I’m too civilized to actually say):
1 – Remember when you lost your job in the recent recession and you felt like crap and didn’t know what to do with yourself? I just lost the biggest part of the best job I ever had. Remember how that sucks?
2 – Only a loser would trivialize someone else’s grief, no matter what the source of it is.
3 – Yeah, if my kids were as rotten as yours, I probably wouldn’t miss them, either.
The thing is, we have totally awesome kids. They’re intelligent, funny, and engaging. They have a wide range of interests and have exposed me to some really cool stuff I would never have seen, heard, or thought about otherwise. I never went through a stage when I thought “Wow, I’ll be glad to have this kid out of the house.” I delighted in every age. Even in those “dreaded” teen years when there was some occasional talking back or acting out, I could accept that as the place they were in and the state of their brain development. Sure, I got frustrated sometimes, even angry. But every meaningful relationship has those moments.
If I had the energy today, I’d have more concern for parents who enjoyed their children so little that they’re glad to see them gone. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe not.