Tim and I have never had just one child at home. We went from two adults and two cats to two adults, two cats, and two children in (what seemed like) the blink of an eye. As the years went by, the number of cats changed (and a dog was added and subtracted and added again), and two more children came along. Our house has been full of toy boxes, books, shoe bins, hair bands, and art supplies. We’ve seen all sorts come through—Barbie dolls, Monster High dolls, Nerf guns, superheroes, dinosaurs (oh, so many!), blocks, toy cars, board games, and cards—some of which we still have and others we’ve passed along to other deserving children. Mostly steadfast in that were the kids: four of them.
Then two went away to college, and we were left with two. The house still seemed somewhat full, despite the fact that number 3 had his own schedule.
This weekend, number 3 leaves, and Tim and I will be here with number 4. Number 4 is an interesting bird (aren’t they all?), and I think she’ll enjoy being at home by herself. The question is, will we enjoy the almost empty nest?
Here’s what I’ll enjoy:
- Less laundry
- Fewer dishes
- Less dirt on the carpet
- More quiet
- Less nagging for things to be done
Here’s what I’ll miss:
That’s right. This summer, we were lucky enough to have three out of the four home. While it felt strange that not everyone was at home, the world felt “almost right.” Not quite, but almost. I missed hugs and conversations and the barbs the kids all throw at one another before they fall into peals of laughter. I missed seeing the twins lying together on the roof above the family room and all four of them enjoying ice cream on a hot summer day.
So even though I barely see number three these days, I will miss him horribly. His grunts in the morning that serve as greetings; his insane food habits, which includes eating all the watermelon I bought the day before; his scent, that wild lavender deodorant that washes over me when he walks by me in the kitchen; his inability to be on time for just about anything.
I’m not ready to have just one child at home, but he has to spread his wings and fly. I just hope he’ll return to the nest someday, and at least for visits.
That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Photo by the author, taken in Ohio.