Empty Nest…and No Photo Shoot

Believe me when I say, Dear Reader, I gave birth to them just ten years ago and now they are grown.  

Of course, that is not true.  The “kids” are now 21 and 19.  She moved straight from her college graduation into her own apartment.  He moved to college at the end of August.  It’s official. . .we are “empty nesters.”

With multiple students in my class with Covid since the beginning of school, we hardly go anywhere anymore, but when we do, people inquire, “How do you like being empty nesters?”

One inquisitive sweet soul earlier in the summer asked if we were going to do an “Empty Nester Photo Shoot.”  While never having heard of an “Empty Nester Photo Shoot,” I do like to think I can keep up with most conversations; however, I asked her to officially explain about an “Empty Nester Photo Shoot.”  

And she confirmed the details.  Multiple photos of my husband and I.  A chalkboard with “Empty Nesters” in our hands.  Multiple changes of outfits.  Multiple locations for the photos.  

Obviously, she doesn’t know my husband and I very well.  For one, my husband has been working from home since March 11, 2020. That feels like a long time to work from home.  His “summer work uniform” consists of two pairs of shorts and some ratty old t-shirts which I dutifully wash so he can keep switching them out.  His “winter work uniform” consists of two pairs of old man sweats and some ratty old t-shirts and sweatshirts, which I dutifully wash so he can keep switching them out.  Of course Covid has kept our social interaction to a minimum, so when he actually wears any other type of clothing I am shocked.  One time when he walked out of our bedroom in a collared shirt I had to ask the strange man in the house to please identify himself!  

Obviously, she doesn’t know my husband and I very well.  My husband prefers I call him “frugal,” but honey, this guy is an absolute cheapskate!  Now being married to a cheapskate works super-well when there are unexpected medical bills in life, or when college tuition bills are due, but a cheapskate doesn’t even exist in the same hemisphere as an “Empty Nester Photo Shoot.”  (We had a relative take all of our wedding pictures for free. I rest my case.)

And I can only imagine the “terribly interesting” pictures Chad and I could display of our new life after our photo shoot:

  • Here’s a photo of me jumping up and down in the laundry room when I realize it’s been three days since I’ve had to do laundry.  (It’s never more than three days though–please see previous paragraph about my husband’s work uniforms.)
  • Here’s a photo of one of us forgetting something in another room and walking to the other room to retrieve it only partially dressed.  (Oops. . .those would be the “scandalous” photos from the shoot!)
  • Here’s a photo of us eating salad and fruit for dinner. . .again!
  • Here’s a photo of me heading to one bathroom and Chad heading to another simultaneously because, well, now we have full and immediate access to two bathrooms!
  • Here’s a photo of Chad standing and staring longingly into the pantry looking for snacks because now we hardly have any junk food in our house, and some weeks, brace yourself, Dear Reader, we don’t even need to go to the grocery store!
  • And here’s a photo of us sitting in the living room, me reading a book and Chad watching TV with the headphones on so I can read.  Do we know how to have a wild and crazy Friday night or what?

Oh, it’s different at our house, for sure, Dear Reader; however, I’m two for two on not crying when we left our kids at college.  They made it!  They are alive and we are alive and we got to see it!  I’m not sure, when my children were younger, they even knew some people didn’t leave home and live at college. They knew this was the expectation for them and by golly, they met our goal!  

My son has learned from his older sister.  (That second child always has an advantage.)  He makes sure to text every other day.  Sometimes. . .he even calls!  Texts and calls are always brief, but that’s OK.  I want him to live his new life and live it well.  And when my daughter and I connect, I find we talk about more and more adult topics.  She’s finding that being an adult takes work and suddenly, I’m looking pretty impressive in her eyes as she realizes how much work it took to save money, keep a house clean, and all the while, keep up with the never-ending laundry while raising children.    

This new season is different, for sure.  The first Saturday there was a school cross country meet and we weren’t attending it, it was incredibly weird, as that had been our life for a complete decade.  Yes, it’s different, but I think we are handling it well and enjoying some new patterns and routines.

But there will be no photo proof. . . .you’ll just have to take my word for it, Dear Reader.

Until the next Wednesday, the Lord allows.