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The Empty Nest Refill

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Four kids later and the last one was off to college: we drove him from AZ to IN, left him our car, and headed to the airport. My husband practically had to push me to get on the plane and leave my baby behind. He was the only boy and I didn't know how in the world he would cope without me!

The truth is he could hardly wait to cut the mommy strings: it was all about me. Who would I nurture now? My husband didn't need a Mother, but fortunately for him, I had a large staff.

I baked homemade comfort food for my staff, goodies, made little notes for jobs well done, and invested all sorts of energy on them. Little by little I realized I was replacing my kids with spoiling my employees, but I decided it was harmless.

Eventually my husband and I became accustomed to getting out of the shower, bedroom door still open, and sans towels. From there we graduated to approaching the kitchen in our undies, making love in the living room interrupting our regularly scheduled television show, and then not having to make a run for our room.

Dinners became more sporadic. I didn't feel the need to rush home from work to throw together a balanced meal. We began grabbing little dates at cafes after work and rediscovering our passion for each other.

Of course it doesn't end there. When you have four kids, something is always afoot. One after another they started coming home. Our son did one year out of state for college and then returned to his hometown college.

He stayed home a whole year! We always felt if they were going to college and working, which he was, then we'd be glad to help. Gone were the rendezvous' and spontaneity. Back were the robes and towels, sleeping in shorts, and cooking so he'd have leftovers.

The time came when he decided he'd enough of us, not to mention not being free to do whatever it is college kids do when their parents aren't around.

We adjusted again and you guessed it: another child came home. This one got divorced and had a little girl. More shifting around in our household making furniture and needs fit.

Finally, she was gone, and then our third daughter graduated from college in Washington. She needed to land a job, get new wheels, and find a place to stay. Yep: she came home.

My husband and I had started to like our time of irresponsibility. Our daughter didn't expect dinners cooked: she was grateful to have a roof over her head. Heck, sometimes we rarely saw her. The balancing act was trying to find out how long she'd be gone so we could figure out if we had time for another quickie or maybe not so quickie. When we asked about how long she'd be gone or if she was returning, she took it to mean we were giving her the inquisition. If she only knew, but then again, parents don't have sex, right?

Clearly, that tact wasn't working. We decided to live life on the wild side. I can't tell you how many times we nearly got caught.

Recently, we ran away from home. My husband took a transfer to the Midwest. Our daughter was to be leaving home, soon, anyway to start her doctorate program. We helped her get a little apartment and off we went.

In our world, anyway, the only way we were going to get an empty nest with four adult kids in town was to fly the coup ourselves, because those little birdies were like homing pigeons! AND, we wouldn't have it any other way. We love our flock and will always welcome them into the fold!

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