When the last bird flew the nest I did feel nostalgic about the technical ending of my role as a Mom. The empty nest process was gradual, with my son being the third, and last to leave home. Having been through the college drop off twice it wasn’t a huge shock to the system, but it did take me a while to find my own rhythm. It was a year before I stopped making too much food for dinner. It was another couple of months before I realized that Mike and I don’t eat crackers or cereal, as I threw away stale boxes. I now buy 4 bananas, 2 green, 2 yellow. My Dad says he’s at an age that he doesn’t buy green bananas so I’m assuming that’s the next stage in my life.
Pants have become optional in our house, I don’t always close the washroom door when I pee or shower, and have wandered through the house in just my undies to get a pair of pants in the laundry room. These habits have led to some near miss scenarios when the kids are home for the holidays. Restaurants have become common in our life, as we navigate the realization that we don’t have to make dinner every night, or buy groceries. We embrace a little wine buzz, now that we don’t have to be the responsible parents, or do the carpool pickup.
Jane Fonda did a Ted Talk about the aging process and referenced the third act, she spoke about people being happier after 50, that it was an opportunity to redefine yourself. I am embracing this idea. I have taken some classes; sign language, travel writing, real estate law (because why not?!). I think I have become a little more patient with myself, letting go of the idea that the furniture needs to be dusted, or that the world will not end if I don’t immediately empty the dishwasher. I’m kinder in regards to my spreading middle, embracing my greying hair, and the age spots on my hands. I miss the sweet little voices, baby feet, Christmas’s with Santa Claus, and reading bedtime stories. I miss all those little moments, but as I discover who I am as a woman moving into the third act, I’m realizing the truth is that I Know Better, this is a beginning not just an ending.